Your Facebook Messenger chats can now be secure from prying eyes — with a few caveats.
Facebook began implementing end-to-end encryption to all of its 900 million Messenger users earlier this year, and that roll-out has finished, the company told Wired Tuesday.
The privacy-centric feature is available as “secret conversations,” on the top right of Messenger’s “new message” screen. In addition to texts and photos, Facebook has put the encryption layer on stickers as well, but videos and GIFs are not included. Furthermore, the feature doesn’t work for group chats, and it needs to be turned on for each individual conversation.
Facebook is also offering users Snapchat-like ability to have their messages self-destruct after a specified duration. To get these features, you need to ensure Messenger app is updated on your Android phone or iPhone. There’s no word on what happens to Windows Phone (or Windows 10 Mobile, as they like to call it now) users.
Once you have enabled Secret Conversations, Messenger will encrypt conversations, preventing any unauthorized party – including hackers and government agencies – from decoding your chats.
Secret Conversations utilizes the reliable and highly commendable Signal protocol for encryption. “Your messages are already secure, but Secret Conversations are encrypted from one device to another,” Messenger app affirms when you use the feature.
The announcement follows Facebook’s other instant messaging app WhatsApp getting end-to-end encryption earlier this year. Though people have always showed some concern about their privacy, revelations of government-led surveillance programs by whistleblower Edward Snowden made them more conscious about their privacy and digital rights.
How to Turn On Encryption In Facebook Messenger
The end-to-end message encryption Facebook promised to Messenger users back in July has finally finished rolling out to everyone. Here’s how to enable it.
A source at Facebook informed Wired that its new “Secret Conversations” functionality is now available to all 900 million users of the service. The new end-to-end encryption doesn’t turn on automatically, however. You have to turn it on for each conversation.
If you want to start a new encrypted conversation:
Tap the new conversation icon at the top right.
- Tap “Secret” in the top right.
- Choose your recipient and begin messaging.
If you want to turn an ongoing conversation into an encrypted Secret Conversation:
- Open the message thread.
- Tap their name at the top of your screen.
- Tap “Secret Conversation” to switch it over.
If you don’t see those options, it could mean the recipient doesn’t have the current version of Facebook Messenger. They’ll need to update their app for Secret Conversations to work. Also, Secret Conversations don’t allow the sending of GIFs and videos, but you can still share picture and use stickers. And it’s important to note that you can only access your Secret Conversations from the device it was enabled on. So if you start an encrypted conversation on your phone, that’s the only place you can send and receive encrypted messages for that particular conversation.
Enjoy the new feature. You may also like to read The links you should not click on Facebook.