Zift Advisory

This App Contains...
In App Purchases
Live Streaming
Videos can be shared
Location Tracking
Photo Sharing
Photo sending/receiving
Stranger Danger
Interacting with strangers

Parent Rating

About BBM - Free Calls & Messages
In-App Purchases

What is BBM - Free Calls & Messages?

The BlackBerry Messenger app is a cross-platform instant messenger and voice/video calling software originally developed for BlackBerry Limited. Users can chat, send files, pictures, audio recordings, and their location on a realtime map. 

These messages are sent over the Internet, secured by BlackBerry's PIN system, and can be shared between single users or groups of up to 250 people. Only other BlackBerry Messenger app users can participate in these group chats at this time.

Departing from its roots as just a messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger has broadened its feature set to include many hallmarks of modern social networks. Users can set avatars, send status updates, and post photos viewable by their Messenger contacts, similar to Facebook timelines. 

The system also targets users with coupons and shopping vouchers, customized news and sports feeds, dedicated content channels for topics of interest, and apps or games free to BlackBerry Messenger users. 

Users can also create and maintain their own their own BlackBerry Messenger channels. Channels are a place where users can start a conversation with the Blackberry Messenger community and can share posts, pictures, or start discussions. Users can join existing conversations with people, brands, and communities.

Originally, this app could only be used to communicate between users of the BlackBerry mobile system, but it was re-developed for cross-platform use in 2013. This expanded the potential user base enormously. BlackBerry Messenger is available for Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry.

Is BBM - Free Calls & Messages safe for my kids?

The BlackBerry Messenger app is safe for mature teenagers, and possibly for pre-teens with supervision and vetting of contacts. Parents should be aware that this app is developing into more of a social network than a messaging app. While BlackBerry is known for their privacy and security, there are several ways the Messenger is not true to this reputation.

While the app uses a PIN system to increase user privacy – individuals cannot be added by phone or email address alone, and can only be contacted by other users who know their PIN. The presence of location and personally targeted marketing offers on this platform indicate that BlackBerry is sharing at least aggregate data with third parties.

This app was reviewed and tested by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 2014 as part of its “Secure Messaging Scorecard” program. BlackBerry Messenger received a score of 1 out of 7 for its privacy features. Its end-to-end encryption is insecure meaning that BlackBerry can technically decrypt and read your messages. 

Users cannot verify the identities of individuals in their contacts, its had never been inspected by third-party security reviewers, and the app does not provide what's known as 'forward security.' If your child's encryption key is compromised and replaced with a new key, all previous messages will be vulnerable.

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BBM - Free Calls & Messages Parent Rating


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