Back in April, WhatsApp turned on end-to-end encryption for every conversation on its system, ensuring an extra layer of security for its 1 billion users. And now, its parent company Facebook has rolled out the same option for users who use its standard Messenger service. From now on, you can toggle the “Secret Conversations” feature on every message, making sure that no one can snoop on your conversation, not the hackers, not the government agencies, and not Facebook itself. Albeit the company hasn’t made any public announcement, Wired said a spokesperson from Facebook has confirmed the availability of this additional security measure.
Off by default
For the “Secret Conversations” in Messenger, Facebook is using Signal encryption system, developed by the nonprofit Open Whisper Systems. It’s the same company that enabled end-to-end encryption for WhatsApp. Unlike WhatsApp, this encryption feature isn’t defaulted on Messenger. You have to manually enable this feature for every conversation.
How to enable
Well, enabling end-to-end encryption is no rocket science. If you have an updated Messenger app, you will find this secret conversation option on the top right of the new message option. There will be a description saying “Your messages are already secure, but Secret Conversations are encrypted from one device to another,” when you initiate your first encrypted conversation. You can also use an expiration time option, ranging from five seconds to one day.
You may find it bizarre that this encryption system is opt-in, but Facebook did this compromise just to avoid legal and political difficulties. WhatsApp’s default end-to-end encryption has already put its parent company in some trouble; making it an opt-in will at least help Facebook to avoid trouble while creating a secure messaging platform for its users at the same time. Default or not, this feature is long awaited and heartily welcomed.