Facebook Messenger Testing Secret Conversations with End-to-End Encryption

Facebook Secret Conversations

When it comes to messaging apps, encryption is a big deal, and now Facebook is getting in on the fun, too.

The social network was rumored to be launching end-to-end encryption recently, and it turns out the rumors were true. Facebook has announced in its Newsroom that it is now testing end-to-end encryption within Facebook Messenger. However, the inclusion of encryption won’t be a blanket feature for Messenger as a whole, but will instead be available on a per-chat basis, and users will be able to turn it on as they see fit. To differentiate between a non-encrypted conversation and an encrypted one, Facebook will be branding the encrypted chats as “Secret Conversations.”

“To enable you to do this we are starting to test the ability to create one-to-one secret conversations in Messenger that will be end-to-end encrypted and which can only be read on one device of the person you’re communicating with. That means the messages are intended just for you and the other person — not anyone else, including us. Within a secret conversation, you can also choose to set a timer to control the length of time each message you send remains visible within the conversation. Our technology uses the Signal Protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems. You can read more about the technical details here.”

Facebook has posted a white paper on how it will work, and notes that images sent within a Secret Conversation will be encrypted, too, but the metadata will not be. Facebook’s rollout of end-to-end encryption is certainly in its unique fashion, and perhaps not in the same fashion as, say, WhatsApp which rolled out its own end-to-end encryption option not too long ago, or even Apple’s own iMessage, but for some it should be better than nothing.

[via Facebook Newsroom]