Yahoo! is! not! killing! Messenger! today!, just! the! desktop! client!

Service is still running, but you need an app for it now

Yahoo! is to kill off the desktop client for its once-popular instant messaging service Messenger today.

The Purple Palace said, back in June, that today would be the day when the desktop client for Messenger would be switched off.

At the time of writing (morning of 5 August) Yahoo! Messenger's desktop client was working just fine at Vulture Central. We even sent each other some 1990s-vintage smileys, just to be sure.

Meanwhile, in those parts of the world which haven't advanced, in IT terms, beyond the early 1990s, plenty of FUD about the “shutting down” of Yahoo! Messenger abounds from people who really should know better, even though that's not what is happening.

Though the desktop client is being taken out and shot today, Messenger will still work in your browser via Yahoo! Mail. You can even advance into the mid-2000s and download it as an app to your phone.

Messenger was at the centre of a major privacy scandal in 2014 as documents revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden showed that British voyeur agency GCHQ was cheerfully hacking into users' Yahoo! Messenger webcam feeds to watch millions of innocent people having cyber sex.

"Unfortunately … it would appear that a surprising number of people use webcam conversations to show intimate parts of their body to the other person," a GCHQ employee wrote, in a document seen by the Guardian.

“We strongly call on the world’s governments to reform surveillance law consistent with the principles we outlined in December," an outraged Yahoo! told The Register at the time.

Apparently the oil trading industry is heavily reliant on Yahoo! Messenger, with Ship and Bunker magazine – a publication dedicated to all those who pour fuel oil into container ships' tanks for a living – reporting that lots of oil industry and ship refuelling people were abandoning Messenger in favour of Microsoft-owned Skype.

Interestingly, Ship and Bunker says that Skype “does not appear to meet all the required compliance criteria” for the industry, implying that Yahoo! Messenger does. The IM service uses SSL to encrypt passwords upon login, but text messages and webcam streams still appear to be unencrypted.

Earlier this week El Reg reported that 200 million Yahoo! logins were up for sale on the dark web. US telco Verizon is paying $4.8bn to buy the Purple Palace for itself. ®

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