Facebook, now known as Meta, has two messaging apps under its social media belt. These two apps are WhatsApp, which it acquired in 2014, and Messenger, Facebook’s exclusive messaging app.
Although Meta owns both messaging apps, their similarities end there.
WhatsApp is one of the free-to-download messaging apps that features end-to-end encryption (E2EE), which prevents hackers and cybercriminals from reading messages between people, per Tech Target.
However, this isn’t the case with Facebook’s messenger app. It does not have E2EE, so if your Facebook account gets hacked, the hacker could read your messages as much as they want without any fuzz. What’s worse is that Meta might even be reading your messages too for targeted ads.
That is until Meta added the Secret Conversations feature in Messenger in 2016.
What Is The Secret Conversations Feature?
Secret Conversations is a feature within Meta’s Messenger app that enables people to talk to each other with E2EE.
Currently, the feature can only work for two persons — yourself and one other individual of your choosing. It is unknown if Meta will expand the feature to be able to talk to people in a group with E2EE.
Aside from encrypting your conversation with someone else, the feature also allows you to set a self-destruct timer so that the messages sent between you and the other person will be deleted automatically after a certain period. For instance, you should set the self-destruct timer to 10 seconds, the messages sent in the conversation after the timer is set will be deleted after 10 seconds.
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Using this feature will also block Meta from reading the messages sent in the conversation, per Business Insider. Additionally, screenshotting the conversation will cause Messenger to post a notification in the chat, notifying both parties that a screenshot was taken.
Unfortunately, this feature is only available on Messenger’s mobile app. You won’t be able to read or send encrypted messages on Messenger’s webpage or desktop app.
How To Use Secret Conversations
According to the Messenger Help Center, to use Messenger’s Secret Conversations, tap on the new message icon on the upper right corner of the screen and then tap on the lock icon so the message you’ll be sending will be sent through the feature. You’ll know if you successfully toggled Secret Conversations on if you see read “New Message End-to-end encrypted” on the upper middle part of the screen.
Afterward, type and send a message to your desired recipient like usual, and you’ve just sent an encrypted message to the recipient.
There is one other way to access and use Secret Conversations.
First, you’ll have to tap on your conversation with the recipient of your choosing and then tap on their name (or nickname if you set one). Doing so will present you with a list of options that lets you search your conversations for a word and set emojis, nicknames, and word effects. At this menu, tap “Go to Secret Conversation,” and a new chat window will appear, signifying that you’ve successfully opened a secret conversation with the recipient.
At this point, type a message and send it to the recipient to start using Secret Conversations.
To toggle on self-destruct mode for messages, tap on the recipient’s name and “disappearing messages.” From there, tap on the amount of time you want the messages on the conversation to stay.
Additionally, to know if who you’re talking to is the recipient of your choosing, have the recipient send them their key, which appears on the same menu you went to toggle the messages’ self-destruct mode. If the keys match, then you have nothing to worry about.
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