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Facebook rolls out new safety notices in Messenger

The tech giant is using machine learning to protect users from scams.

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David Priest Former editor
David Priest is an award-winning writer and editor who formerly covered home security for CNET.
David Priest
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Facebook unveiled a new safety measure for its Messenger app on Thursday. Designed to pop up when a user is about to interact with a new contact that's acting suspiciously, these notifications will offer tips for blocking or ignoring conversations.

Whether the safety notifications pop up seems to be driven by machine learning -- a process by which artificial intelligence systems can improve at, say, spotting patterns in certain conversations and then predicting more effectively where a given conversation might lead. Facebook is already using such techniques to monitor conversations between unrelated adults and children, and it appears a similar approach is now being adopted more broadly.

In an email, a representative at Facebook elaborated on the reasoning behind the new feature: "These safety notices will help people avoid potentially harmful interactions and possible scams while empowering them with the information and controls needed to keep their chats private, safe and secure."