While most of us use FB Messenger to have fun with friends via a group chat or to send gifs and stickers to your family, we sometimes want to convey something more private. Facebook has launched an encryption feature and the time has come! So, how do the secret conversations of Facebook Messenger work?
How secret conversations work on Facebook Messenger
Facebook joins WhatsApp in the encrypted message set and does its part to protect your valuable messages from hackers, government surveillance or a prying friend. Like in Snapchat, you can also set timeouts for your messages. The message self-destructs from five seconds to one day after being read. Facebook explains that secret conversations in Messenger are encrypted with end-to-end encryption, which means that the messages are intended for you and another person, not anyone else, not even Facebook.
Before starting a group discussion, be aware that there are some minor limitations to secret conversations. The encryption feature only supports two-person messaging, so that only the recipient and you can see the message. A secret conversation will also be launched in a separate window. It will not appear in the thread in which you previously participated.
Secret Conversation supports text, images, and stickers, but gifs and videos are prohibited. And while Facebook can not read your private messages, you can still report a secret message that violates the Facebook community’s guidelines.
How to start a secret conversation
Once you have updated your application, you can start a secret conversation by accessing your Messenger home screen, then tap the profile icon (this will be at the bottom left of the screen if you’re using a iPhone), and scroll to the “Secret Conversations” option. Select it and enable the feature on your device.
You can now use encrypted email from your Facebook Messenger application. To start a secret chat, just start opening a new message, tap “Secret” in the top right corner, and then select the person to whom you want to send the message. From there, you can tap the small clock icon next to the message field to set or change a timer, which will cause the message to disappear after the time you set.
If you make your message available for 30 seconds, for example, a timer appears on the right side, then displays a countdown indicating how many seconds the message is available before it disappears. Options are available to display your message, from five seconds to 24 hours maximum. There is also an option to disable this feature.
How to check that your messages are encrypted
It should be noted that if you send a message to someone through the Secret Conversation, it will know that it is a secret chat, because the message bubble, usually blue, will be black. A padlock icon is displayed next to the person’s profile picture to tell you if a conversation is “secret”.
All secret conversations can be deleted from your Facebook application. This does not, however, remove the same conversation or message from the other person’s device.
Although Secret Conversations is designed as a totally private email space, Facebook indicates that users can still capture these messages, which can then be shared.