Nearly two years ago, Facebook was found to be testing a new feature for Messenger that helps identify ill-intended users trying to pass off as someone else. Specifically, the feature was meant to detect when a potential scammer was imitating the profile of one of the victim’s friends. Now, as reported by TechCrunch, the feature is now rolling out to users with some additional capabilities.
The originally-reported feature, which detects when a potential scammer is trying to appear as one of the victim’s friends, is still pretty similar. When a user receives a message from an account that’s impersonating one of their friends, a warning will be displayed at the top of the chat, letting them know the other user is using a similar name to one of their friends. Reviewing the warning will provide additional information, such as when the account was created and how many friends they have compared to the legitimate account.
There’s a new capability, too, which simply warns users when a potential scammer is trying to deceive them. According to the report, the app will use machine learning to detect anomalies in an account’s activity’s such as sending a high number of message requests to users, especially if the messages are being sent to users under younger than 18. Reviewing the warning will allow the victim to block the potential attacker, and provide a little more guidance on how to identify scams.
The features seem to be mostly targeted at young users, in an effort to teach them how to be cautious online and it comes at a time when false friend requests are on the rise due to a change to Facebook’s search algorithm. It was initially available in a limited rollout back in March, and it’s now expanding. On iOS, it should be available at some point next week.