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By Abhay V
Facebook Messenger is facing a massive outage [Update]
by Abhay Venkatesh
Facebook Messenger seems to be facing a massive outage, as users have begun reporting on Twitter and other areas that the service is down. The outage is resulting in users not being able to send and receive messages, and it seems to be affecting people in the U.S., U.K., India, and other areas. Indications of issues include a "Connecting" or "No internet connection" message at the top of chats.
A quick look at Downdetector suggests that the issue just began a couple of hours ago, and we can confirm from our testing that the issue seems to affect all platforms. There is currently no word from the company about the outage or what is causing the service problems. Even the Platform Status page does not contain information on the current outage. Additionally, Downdetector reports also hint at issues with Instagram, but the user reports on Twitter suggest that more users are facing problems accessing Messenger.
We will keep a close eye on the reports and any official information and will update the article accordingly.
Update: Looks like Messenger and Instagram are back up and running, based on the drop in reports from Downdetector and our testing. Though the outage lasted for close to three hours, the social media giant is yet to provide any information on the cause of the problems.
By Jay Bonggolto
Facebook Messenger adds new features to control unwanted messages
by Jay Bonggolto
Facebook continues to beef up its safety measures for Messenger after introducing a couple of privacy and security features last year, including limitations to message forwarding in an effort to stop the spread of false information. Prior to that, the social media company added an App Lock feature designed to unlock the Messenger app using Face ID or Touch ID.
Now, as part of the Safer Internet Day commemoration, Facebook has unveiled new capabilities meant to help keep you safe on Messenger. The company announced today that it has bolstered the way you can handle message requests.
In addition, the service has added a new way to identify whom an unwanted message comes from with additional context as well as a new option to mass-delete messages. It is also testing a new method to let you report abuse or harassment. Messenger is also rolling out improvements to the way it sends feedback to messages you've previously reported.
Facebook has also made the option to view blocked accounts more transparent in the privacy settings menu. The option to block an account is already more noticeable in message requests and safety notices.
In an effort to provide safety to minors, Messenger is working on a new capability to identify users who send a huge bulk of messages or friend requests to users under 18. Facebook noted that these measures aim to prevent abuse or harmful content on Messenger, with some of them now more accessible to users instead of being tucked away within the settings.
By Jay Bonggolto
Facebook is rolling out Messenger to the Quest VR headsets
by Jay Bonggolto
Facebook is taking another step to incorporate some of its services into Oculus following its acquisition. The company announced today that Messenger on Oculus is rolling out to the Quest platform beginning this week.
You'll soon be able to chat with your friends via Messenger even if they're not using Oculus' virtual reality headsets. If you've logged in to a Quest and Quest 2 using your Facebook account, you will be able to access the messaging app. Late last year, Oculus made it mandatory for first-time users to log in with their Facebook account in preparation for the planned shutdown of support for all Oculus accounts by January 2023.
With the new update, you can use the headset's built-in keyboard or its voice-to-text capability to send a chat to your contacts while still wearing a Quest headset. The new capability also allows you to create an Oculus Party so you can play games together from your conversation on Messenger.
Facebook pointed out that your current privacy settings won't change even if you chat with your friends through Messenger on Oculus. That said, you can also still use Oculus Chats to communicate with your friends with your Oculus username.
By Jay Bonggolto
Facebook Messenger now lets you send disappearing chats with Snapchat-inspired feature
by Jay Bonggolto
Facebook is taking a page from Snapchat's book anew with a fresh update that's rolling out to Messenger and Instagram. The company announced today that you can now send disappearing chats on its messaging app with Vanish Mode.
The new capability was first unveiled in September when Facebook introduced cross-platform messaging for Messenger and Instagram. It's designed to let you send disappearing texts, images, emoji, and stickers when these are viewed by the recipient or when you close a chat window.
To turn on Vanish Mode, you can simply swipe up on your phone screen in a current conversation. You can also swipe up again in order to return to your regular chat experience.
The feature works only with people you're connected to and it gives you the choice whether you'd also like to enter Vanish Mode with someone. In addition, you will receive a notification when a contact takes a screenshot of your ephemeral chat. It also supports the option to block or report a chat.
Today's release comes more than a week after WhatsApp detailed how its own ephemeral chat feature would work when it goes live for all. For now, Vanish Mode is available only for Messenger users in the U.S. and a few other territories, with more regional expansion set in the future. It's also coming to Instagram in the U.S. soon, though you'll have to switch to Messenger's cross-platform experience in order to use it.
Facebook debuts new colorful icon for Messenger, adds new features
by João Carrasqueira
Facebook is giving its Messenger app a makeover, introducing a new icon for the app that employs a colorful gradient, instead of the simple blue logo used so far. The new icon appears to be inspired by Instagram's icon, which is also owned by Facebook.
The social network says the new icon represents the "continued evolution" of Messenger and the fact that it's become than just a place to send messages. Over the past few months, the company has added new capabilities, like improvements for video calls (and Messenger Rooms), or the ability to watch videos together on the app, all of which are highlighted in today's announcement.
Facebook also recently began bringing its messaging platforms together, enabling cross-platform messaging between Instagram and Messenger. This capability is now almost fully rolled out in North America, according to the company, and it might be the reason the new Messenger icon takes inspiration from that of Instagram.
Along with the new icon, the app is also adding a handful of new ways for users to customize the look of the app, with new themes like love and tie-dye, as well as custom reactions for messages. More features are on the way soon, too, like selfie stickers and vanish mode.
Facebook didn't specifically say if the update is rolling out to everyone immediately or if only specific groups of users will see it. On our test devices (running Android 10), the update doesn't seem to be available yet, but it's likely it will become more widespread over the next few days.