Android users have reportedly received a notice, stating that Facebook is disabling the ability to view and respond to messages through a mobile web browser. Facebook has started forcing people who access the social network via a mobile browser to download its Messenger app if they want to continue chatting privately with friends.
At the moment, it is possible to dismiss the notification. However, from the summer, users will have to download the official Messenger app whether they like it or not, according to TechCrunch.
“Using the Messenger app is faster and enables richer interactions. We’re continuing to bring the best experiences we can to the 900 million people on Messenger,” the company in a statement.
Many Facebook users choose to access the Messenger service via a mobile browser to preserve battery life, or because they simply don’t like the app experience.
On Android smartphones, Messenger can be particularly annoying, because a bubble pops up on the screen every time someone sends a message, and this bubble has to be dragged to the bottom of the screen to dismiss it.
Facebook said the move is an extension of its 2014 Messenger policy, which forced anyone using the Facebook app on their phone to download the separate Messenger app for private conversations.
The company said at the time that the that the move was designed to provide the “best mobile messaging experience possible” and “avoid the confusion of having separate Facebook mobile messaging experiences”.
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However, some Facebook users still have privacy and security concerns about the Messenger app.
Only today, cyber security firm Check Point released details of a significant vulnerability in Facebook’s Messenger app that allowed hackers to edit or delete any sent message, and use it to distribute malware.
This process required only very basic HTML knowledge and a browser debug tool, free on any browser.
Once the message ID was identified, the attacker was able to alter the content of the messages and send it to the Facebook servers without the original user being alerted.
“By exploiting this vulnerability, cybercriminals could change a whole chat thread without the victim realising,” said Oded Vanunu, head of products vulnerability research at Check Point.
“What’s worse, the hacker could implement automation techniques to outsmart security measures, allowing them to launch long-term, insidious attacks.”
The vulnerability was fully disclosed to the Facebook Security team earlier this month by Check Point and has now been fixed.
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