For those of you who are concerned with the safety and privacy of Facebook Messenger — don’t worry, Facebook is, too! That’s why the company announced on Friday that it’s launching new security features to better protect user messages from hackers/friends and family members who aren’t good with boundaries.
On Friday, Facebook announced that it built a new feature inside Messenger called “secret” messages, which are private conversations that are end-to-end encrypted (where only the users communicating can see the messages). Unlike regular Messenger messages, the messages won’t be stored on Facebook’s servers, but on the sender’s and recipient’s devices.
There will also be an option to self-destruct the messages — Inspector Gadget style, but with less explosions. You’ll be able to set a timer to make the messages disappear automatically after a set period of time (from five seconds to 24 hours).
To activate the secret chats, you’ll need to turn it on manually. Since end-to-end messages only live on the devices they’re sent to, and since Messenger works on multiple devices at one time, the messages will only be available on one device.
Government agencies like the FBI aren’t happy about end-to-end encryption, because it makes it a lot easier for criminals to get away with illegal activity. On the other hand, it could protect users acting totally legally from any snooping agencies who may or may not have jurisdiction. Users tend to love the idea of the end-to-end encrypted conversation, because they feel safe knowing their private messages are actually private (what a concept!)
In typical Facebook fashion, the secret messages will roll out to a limited test group to start, but should be available to everyone by the end of summer. So you’ve got some time to think about which FB friends you should upgrade from decoder-ring to encrypted secret chatting!