Facebook wants to help you cut down on the number of fake friends on its Messenger app—and possibly help you to stay safe. Like it or not, not all friends’ requests are genuine—there are people out there whose real intention is different from what the app was designed for in the first place. Facebook has announced a new feature that scans through accounts for suspicious activities with the use of machine learning to pick out accounts sending out large amount of friends’ requests within a short time or numerous message requests to users that are below the age of 18.
Once the tool detects a suspicious activity, a pop up chat window shows up pointing out the issue along with options to either block or ignore such user. The new feature is designed to cut down on scammers as well as users pretending as other people, and also help to protect minors from predators. It [the feature] also aims to restrict interactions between adults and younger users who are not really connected on Facebook Messenger.
“Our new feature educates people under the age of 18 to be cautious when interacting with an adult they may not know and empowers them to take action before responding to a message,” Facebook said in a blog post.
Earlier in May, Facebook launched a new connectivity app called Discover. Discover, according to the social media giant, will help those who cannot afford to get online to easily access information on the web at no cost. You will be able to access any website of your choice; but without videos, images, and audio that consume data. You will be restricted to texts, which consumes few megabytes of internet data.
Discover is being launched as a trial version in Peru in partnership with Bitel, Claro, Entel, and Movistar, Facebook said. The app is a part of Facebook’s Free Basics initiative; and is a result from feedback it received from stakeholders, organizations, civil society groups, etc.
The launch of the app has become even more necessary considering the fact that people need to be informed about the coronavirus pandemic. Helping people to get and stay connected is vital, and Discover could not have been launched at a better time—even though its use is only limited to 10MB of data per day and restricted to Peru for now. “As part of our ongoing work to connect people to accurate health information, coronavirus health resources will be highlighted on the Discover homepage.”
The app works like Facebook’s other app Free Basics, which is currently only available in more than 55 countries. People who use Free Basics are able to access the internet for various information including health, job, educational resources, communication tools, etc—and Discover will no doubt offer similar access; but only in text formats.