Blackberry sets BBM’s privacy features free on iOS, Android, and its own devices

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Sayid Zulhusni/123RF
In its latest effort to stay relevant, BlackBerry is really throwing in the towel. In a blog post published Monday, the company announced that all its privacy and control features within the BBM messaging app will now be 100 percent free, eliminating the previous price tag of $1. Specifically, BBM users across platforms (yes, you can use Blackberry messaging on both Android and iOS as well) now have unlimited access to Retract and Timer, two features that previously required a BBM subscription.

Retract lets you delete a message from both your outbox and the recipient’s inbox, while Timer sets a limit on how long your message content (and even location information) can be viewed.

“Building on the renowned immediacy, reliability and security inherent to BBM, the new release provides unmatched level of privacy and control to BBM users without any subscription fees,” said Matthew Talbot, SVP, BBM at BlackBerry. “Keeping control over the messages and content that they share, BBM users can be ensured that what they share is always theirs to control.

The two features were actually first released in 2014, when BlackBerry introduced the cross-platform BBM app. Although the features were initially free, Retract and Timer were later rolled into the $1 a month subscription plan. However, as the Canadian firm struggles to compete against an increasingly cutthroat mobile field, it seems to be rethinking its strategies.

Included in the latest release are also a series of updates to both the iOS and Android apps, all of which have to do with user privacy.

Of course, given the popularity of other messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and even Telegram; it’ll be difficult for BBM to stay at the top of everyone’s minds, even if it is free (especially given that the other guys aren’t charging their users, either). But if you’re still a loyal BBM patron, your messages are now even safer.

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