Biometric password authentication is old news at this point. Be it your fingerprint or your face, authorizing access to your devices and apps is a pretty skin-deep affair. To that end, Facebook Messenger is reportedly incorporating this approach for its app, according to developers who spotted its Face ID option.
According to developer Jane Manchun Wong, facial recognition arrived as an option in the Facebook Messenger app’s settings. “When enabled, you will need to use Face ID to unlock the app,” the feature reads. “You can still replay [sic] to messages from notifications and answer calls if the app is locked.” Users will be able to choose if the lock extends for one minute, 15 minutes, or a full hour.
Perhaps most crucial to anyone worried about their privacy, the feature adds, “Your Face ID is not transmitted to or stored by Facebook Inc.” It’s hard to sincerely believe that claim given Facebook's rather controversial history but we’ll take it at face value — for now. And, the name likely won't stick considering "Face ID" is native to Apple gadgets, as Softpedia notes.
Do we want this? — It remains to be seen whether the official launch of Messenger's facial recognition will win positive reviews or trust. When you're a company embroiled in scandal after scandal about exploiting user data, tracking their movement, carrying out potentially dangerous facial recognition features, and your CEO won't wholly admit to letting platform users down, it's somewhat natural for people to be wary.