Several months ago when WhatsApp announce it’s intentions to encrypt all conversations by default, a new message security trend was created.
Coincidence or not, Facebook’s Messenger received an update with a new feature called “Secret Conversations“, within days from the initial Allo launch.
What you Need to Know About Secret Conversations
- Any secret conversation that you will have in Messenger will be completely encrypted end-to-end. What this means is, only you and the recipient will be able to see and decrypt the messages.
- Using Secret Conversations will theoretically prevent Facebook, the NSA or any other secret service from swooping into your business.
- Both the sender and the recipient will have a device key that can be used to verify if the messages are end-to-end encrypted.
- When using secret conversations you can set a timer for your messages to automatically self-destruct after being “seen” by the recipient. You can adjust various values to the timer yourself.
- Secret Conversations is only available on mobile devices such as phones or tablets.
- When using Secret Conversations, your messages will appear in black bubbles instead of blue ones.
- You can send emojis, stickers, likes, and photos, but not video/voice calls, or group conversations.
How to Start a Secret Conversation in Messenger
1. Open a normal chat conversation with the person you’re trying to use Secret Conversation with and tap the information box.
2. Scroll down and tap on Secret Conversation located under the Settings tab.
3. Turn on secret conversations on your device.
Note: Keep in mind that this will now be the only device you can send & receive secret conversation messages. If you log-in with Facebook on a desktop PC or another smartphone you won’t see any of these messages.
4. Tap OK to enable Secret Conversations and start conversing safely.
5. You can set your messages to self-destruct by tapping the timer icon and selecting a period of time in which they will be deleted.
How to Verify If a Messenger Conversation is Encrypted
As we already pointed out, the 2 people involved in a secret conversation are given a device key that can be compared in order to verify if the messages are actually encrypted.
Note: This step is entirely optional and is available just to reassure users of their anonymity. Your messages will still get encrypted inside a secret conversation window regardless if you compare the device keys or not.
Here’s how you can do it:
1. Open a Secret Conversation and tap the information icon.
2. Select Device Keys.
3. Compare the 2 device keys, if they match your conversation is encrypted.