By Emma Roth
Wickr Me, the free encrypted messaging app owned by Amazon Web Services, is shutting down on December 31st, 2023. In a post on its website, Wickr says the app will stop accepting new user registrations on December 31st, 2022 before going away completely next year.
AWS acquired Wickr last year and started packaging the paid version of the secure messaging app within its offerings for businesses. This version of the app, Wickr AWS, isn’t going away, and neither is Wickr Enterprise. The shutdown only affects the consumer-facing Wickr Me, which is often used by journalists, whistleblowers, and anyone looking to keep their messages away from prying eyes.
However, recent reports suggest the app has become an outlet for criminals, with NBC News reporting in June that the app is “a go-to destination” for people who want to share images of child sex abuse. It’s also been implicated in the past as a hub for drug dealers who’ve been forced off the dark web.
“After careful consideration, we will be concentrating Wickr’s focus on securing our business and public sector customers’ data and communications with AWS Wickr and Wickr Enterprise, and have decided to discontinue our consumer product, Wickr Me,” the post reads. “We also realize that some of our business and public sector customers use Wickr to communicate with individual users outside their network. We’re focusing on enabling this in AWS Wickr too.”
If you use Wickr Me, there are still plenty of other free encrypted messaging apps you can try instead, including Telegram and Signal, although the latter is phasing out support for SMS on Android, which is a bit of a bummer if you used the app as your default messenger.
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By Emma Roth