Published: Mon, April 09, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

Facebook updates Messenger app to support 360 photos

Facebook updates Messenger app to support 360 photos

Facebook confirmed Thursday that it uses automated tools to scan Messenger chats for malware links and child porn images.

Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave an interview that raised several questions regarding the privacy and practices of the company's Messenger.

Those reassurances may fall short for many users, however, who believe it is uncanny to say the least that they may search for a particular pair of shoes one minute only to find advertising for them appearing on their Facebook page the next.

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When it comes to photo features on mobile apps, Facebook remains ahead of the pack with the unveiling of a new 360-degree photo and HD video feature in its Messenger app. Messenger doesn't use the data from the scanned messages for advertising, the company said, but the policy may extend beyond what Messenger users expect.

"In that case, our systems detect what's going on", Zuckerberg said. People can report posts or messages for violating those standards, which would prompt a review by the company's "community operations" team.

To share a 360 photo, select the image as you normally would in Facebook Messenger and the app will convert it to an immersible format. Messenger also has an encrypted option, but users have to turn it on.

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Facebook has been under the microscope for possible privacy violations ever since news broke that Trump campaign-linked Cambridge Analytica had used a Facebook app to download data on 50 million USA users from the service.

"In this particular instance, a number of people reported receiving these messages which prompted us to begin investigating", a spokesperson said. It has also prompted calls for Facebook to be more transparent about how it handles user data. Zuckerberg has agreed to testify before the House next week and is holding a conference call on Wednesday afternoon to discuss changes to Facebook privacy policies.

Facebook said in a statement on Thursday that keeping messages private is its priority, but it also defended the automated tools as being "very similar to those that other internet companies use today".

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