The Guardian reported more than a month ago that Facebook would be rolling out end-to-end encryption for chats in Messenger. Friday, the social networking firm announced that it’s begun testing the new feature, dubbed Secret Conversations.
An opt-in feature, the new option within the mobile Messenger app for iOS and Android was designed to better support conversations about sensitive topics with end-to-end encryption.
With end-to-end encryption, the contents of your chats are garbled so that no one can decipher them aside from you and the intended recipient(s). Furthermore, encrypted messages can only be read on one device of the person you’re communicating with.
You can optionally set a timer to control the length of time each encrypted message you send remains visible within the conversation. Secret Conversations currently don’t support rich content like GIFs and videos, making payments or other popular Messenger features.
A subset of Messenger user base should see Secret Conversations, but Facebook will be making it more widely available this summer.
The encryption technology utilized for Secret Conversations uses the Signal Protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems. You can read more about the technical details in Facebook’s white paper.