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Facebook starts testing 'secret conversations' in Messenger with end-to-end encryption

Facebook has begun testing end-to-end encryption for conversations in Messenger. Dubbed "secret conversations," encryption allows you to securely message your friends and loved ones securely, in a way that nobody else, not even Facebook, can see.

From Facebook:

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.

Facebook is using the Signal Protocol built by Open Whisper Systems to develop secret conversations. The company is rolling out the encryption option to only a small subset of people at this time, with a wider rollout is expected later this summer.

16 Comments
  • First stage of merging Messenger and WhatsApp?
  • I doubt it.
  • Messenger = Encrypted IM system owned by Facebook
    WhatsApp = Encrypted IM system owned by Facebook I don't see it as too far fetched that they would merge the systems.
  • One is integral to the Facebook platform and the other is a standalone service. They cater to different audiences. Blackberry Priv
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  • They are both stand alone apps. They both use your phone number as identification. They can both send sms. They are functionally pretty similar. Why would Facebook not merge the back ends?
  • Simple, merging the apps would 1. Drive millions of people away from Facebook messenger to WhatsApp or 2. Drive millions of people away from WhatsApp to a different chat client because they don't want there chat client linked to Facebook. The two clients are already successful on their own, and like the above commenter said, they cater two different audiences, why merge them? Posted via the Android Central App
  • This would be nice Posted via the Android Central App
  • It's just PR this means nothing in the end if you think Facebook cares about you, you're naive. Posted from my cracked Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Facebook cares about you using Facebook. If they think that this will increase their usage they will care.
  • Sure. I trust Facebook... Posted via the Android Central App
  • The point of this being encrypted means you don't have to trust Facebook.
  • But you do still have to trust them. I mean, does FB control the on/off switch to the encryption? And will they turn it off at the request of a government? This would be a deal-breaker if you live in a country where you worry that the government is spying on you and may punish you for what you say. In that case, simply having encryption isn't of much use to you if it can be switched off at any time without you knowing.
  • If you've ever used Signal (Whisper Systems' encrypted messaging app) you'd know that when you're sending an encrypted message it says so. When it is not encrypted it is clearly listed as unsecured.
  • Yes, I've used it. And, beyond what you said, Signal is an OSS project, so the code can be examined by anyone who cares to look at it. With Messenger, you're trusting that your messages are being encrypted when, in fact, it'd be entirely possible for FB to disable that encryption if they either chose to or were compelled to. Not so comforting if you really need that kind of security.
  • Why would it matter if messenger was encrypted? I doubt hackers are going to ease drop on people reminiscing on old times or someone talking to their Grandma about an upcoming wedding. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Ah so we can now wait for the feds to demand the key to the encryption so they can protect us from the bad guys...