Facebook says it is keeping Facebook Messenger users’ conversations safe from prying eyes with new encryption features.
Facebook says it is testing a new feature it calls “secret conversations” that uses end-to-end encryption to lock up messages.
Using end-to-end encryption means that only the sender and recipient of a message will able to unlock and read it – even Facebook itself won’t be able to see what you’re talking about.
According to Facebook, the end-to end encryption which is an addition to the already integrated strong security systems on messages and calls on Messenger, is a response to users’ request for additional safeguards
To enable users the ability to keep their sensitive conversations secret, Facebook says it has started to test the ability to create one-to-one secret conversations in Messenger that will be end-to-end encrypted. That way, conversations can only be read on one device of the person the user is communicating with, meaning that the messages are intended just for the user and the other person — not anyone else, including Facebook.
Within a secret conversation, users can also choose to set a timer to control the length of time each message sent remains visible within the conversation. Facebook explains that the company’s technology uses the Signal Protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems.
The encryption that enables users to start secret conversations is optional because many people want Messenger to work when they switch between devices, such as a tablet, desktop computer or phone.
The company says it currently does not support rich content like GIFs and videos, making payments, or other popular Messenger features in secret conversations, adding that secret conversations are available on a limited test basis right now, but will be more widely available this summer.
During this test, the company says it will gather feedback about the functionality, measure performance and introduce tools to enable users report objectionable content to the company and is also putting a lot of thought into the design and implementation of this feature.