Facebook is currently testing a new feature called ‘Secret Conversations’ in their Messenger app that will bring end-to-end message encryption for users. The new feature is announced in a blog post published on Facebook Newsroom. The post also reveals that its currently available to limited users only, and will become more widely available this summer.
Facebook Secret Conversations is an opt-in feature which you can activate from the settings of individual chat and it is separate from the unencrypted conversations. Company says that the encrypted conversations can be used to discuss and pass on sensitive information like health and financial information. There is an options of setting self destruct timers on messages as well.
Facebook has been in hot water recently over several privacy related topics where they have been accused of retaining and scanning links shared in Messenger conversations. However, with introduction of end-to-end encryption in Messenger put it in the ranks of many messaging apps whose main feature is encryption and privacy. Facebook very own messaging app, WhatsApp, also enabled end-to-end encryption recently but in its case, the encryption is turned on by default on all chats.
Facebook Messenger’s Secret Conversations will only work on one device per device which can be selected by the user. This way Facebook would not have to distribute unique encryption keys to multiple devices. There are some other limitations of Secret Conversations related to content of messages. End-to-end encrypted chats will not support GIFs and videos.