Amazon is shutting down its encrypted messaging app Wickr Me. The company has already stopped accepting new users and will completely discontinue the service at the end of this year. In an official announcement, Wickr said it plans to focus its resources on encrypted communication solutions for enterprise users.
Amazon shuts down Wickr Me just a couple of years after acquiring it
Wickr Me is a popular name in the encrypted messaging space. Founded in 2012, Amazon acquired the company in June 2021. The retailer giant said it plans to incorporate Wickr’s messaging services into its IT arm Amazon Web Services (AWS). Since Wickr already offered encrypted messaging products for individual customers and enterprises, its services were available for AWS customers immediately. The latter provides remote work solutions and other cloud services with support for text, voice, and video communications, file sharing, and more. Wickr helped Amazon make those communications more secure.
Despite this integration with AWS, Wickr continued to offer its consumer-facing messaging app Wickr Me. But that’s changing now. The company is pulling the plug on Wickr Me saying it wants to concentrate on “securing our business and public sector customers’ data and communications” with its AWS Wickr and Wickr Enterprise products. These products are geared toward enterprise users. For businesses that use Wickr Me to communicate with individual users outside their enterprise network, Wickr says it will enable this within AWS Wickr.
Meanwhile, in you use Wickr Me to communicate with your friends and family, it’s about time you look for alternatives. You can check these best encrypted messaging apps for Android. Wickr Me stopped accepting new users on December 31, 2022 and will shut down the service on December 31, 2023. The company says it will provide you with more information about protecting your data in the coming months.
Wickr Me was surrounded by controversies lately
Wickr Me is shutting down amid mounting controversies and court cases. According to an NBC News report from June last year, the ultra-secure messaging app was involved in 72 cases relating to child sexual abuse or child pornography in the past five years in the US, the UK, and Australia. Moreover, since the platform lets users sign up without any potentially identifying information such as a phone number, it is a favorite for drug dealers, terrorists, hacking groups, and other criminals as well as security-minded journalists. There have been reports of terrorist organizations using Wickr Me as a recruitment tool.
Wickr’s contracts with government agencies such as Customs and Border Protection and military groups have also been subject to scrutiny since Amazon acquired the company. However, the official press release announcing this impending shutdown of Wickr Me doesn’t touch any of this. It simply says the move is to focus on end-to-end encrypted enterprise communications.