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Facebook may add end-to-end encryption to Messenger

However, tighter privacy may come at the expense of artificial intelligence features the social network is building into the chat app, the Guardian reports.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Facebook wants to improve privacy on its Messenger app by beefing up encryption, but it may come at the expense of artificial intelligence features, according to the Guardian.

The social-networking giant plans to release an optional encrypted communications mode for the chat app in the coming months, unidentified sources described as close to the project told the British newspaper. The system's end-to-end encryption would allow only the sender and recipient to read the texts, blocking the prying eyes of governments and law-enforcement officials.

However, the tighter encryption could obstruct some of the machine learning features Facebook is building into Messenger, the newspaper reported. Facial recognition is a touchy subject with Facebook. In early May, Facebook finally have a global launch for Moments, private photo-sharing app. But due to privacy concerns, the feature used to group together features was removed from versions in Canada and Europe.

Technology companies and rights groups argue that strong encryption, which scrambles data so it can be read only by the right person, is needed to keep people safe and protect privacy. Law enforcement argues it can't fight crimes unless it has access to information on mobile devices.

A Facebook representative declined to comment on the report.