Chatting on Facebook Messenger is about to become more secure.
Facebook announced on Friday its new feature called "secret conversations" that will better protect users' messages that contain sensitive information.
Secret conversations includes end-to-end encryption on all private conservations so that the user won't have to feel like others can get access to their personal data shared while chatting, such as when giving a phone number or credit card information to a family member or friend, or when looking for medical advice from a doctor. Having messages encrypted also means even the FBI won't be able to spy on the user's convos — unless they take its request to read the messages to court.
Facebook Messenger users have the choice to partake in encrypted chats, with both those sent and received messages being stored on users' devices and not on Facebook's servers.
"We're making this an optional feature because a number of popular Messenger features don't currently work, or can't work with end-to-end encrypted conversations, like using Messenger across multiple devices, archiving all your past conversations in case you lose your phone, and sending rich content like animated GIFs," head of Facebook Messenger David Marcus wrote in a post.
To use secret messages, the user simply taps on the contact's name when in conversations to bring up the contact menu. Users will be able to see the option to tap on "Secret Conversation" just above "Audio Call" when the feature is live. This will bring them back into a chat, this time knowing that their messages are more secure.
Along with end-to-end encryption, secret conversations also features a timer that allows the messages to self-destruct. There will be a timer icon located to the right of the text box where users can select how long they want their message to remain, whether it's just for a few seconds or a half hour. That specific message will disappear in the selected time frame after it is seen by the recipient.
It seems that, with these two new features, Facebook is trying to make Messenger become users' go-to messaging app. No longer will they need to use encrypted apps like WhatsApp (which is owned by Facebook) or apps with disappearing chats like Snapchat to feel like they have that sense of privacy.
Facebook began rolling out secret messages to a select amount of test users, with the new feature expected to become more widely-available this summer.