Facebook Messenger: How To Use Secret Conversations And Secure Your Messages With End-to-End Encryption

All of us, at some point in time or the other, share personal info with that special person we trust. When you use encrypted messages, the secrets will remain a secret. Facebook has rolled out a new feature called “Secret Conversation” that helps you send secret messages, encrypted end-to-end. The messages that you send in secret conversations are intended just for you and the other person – not anyone else, not even Facebook.

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image source: ibtimes

How To Use Secret Conversations

When you start a message, it doesn’t start a secret conversation.  The default setting for secret conversations is off. Which means, you must change the default setting to enable this feature. To start a secret conversation, follow these simple steps –

  1. Ensure that you have the latest version of Facebook Messenger app.
  2. Open Facebook Messenger. Tap the ‘i’ icon that you see on top right corner.
  3. Select Secret Conversation from the list.
  4. Finally, choose ‘Turn On‘.

Now, you can start secret conversations. It’s always advisable to use end-to-end encryption since it ensures greater security. Talking about this feature, Facebook said – “We’ve heard from you that there are times when you want additional safeguards — perhaps when discussing private information like an illness or a health issue with trusted friends and family, or sending financial information to an accountant.” Looks like Facebook has taken this feedback seriously and actually implemented end-to-end encryption for messages.

How To Verify That Your Conversation Is Encrypted

Both people part of the secret conversation will have access to a device key that they can compare to verify that the messages are in fact end-to-end encrypted. Just because you do not verify does not mean that the messages are not encrypted. Your messages will be encrypted whether or not you compare device keys. To view a conversation’s device keys –

  1. Start/open an existing conversation with someone.
  2. Tap the name at the top.
  3. Tap Device Keys.
  4. Compare your device key with the other person’s device key.

If the device keys match, then it means that you have verified that the messages are end-to-end encrypted.

How To Delete All Secret Conversations

If you, however, choose to delete all conversations on your device, you can do so. Just to mention, deleting a message or conversation on your device obviously doesn’t delete it from the other person’s device. To delete all secret conversations from your device, follow these steps –

  1. Tap the profile icon. Then tap on Secret Conversations.
  2. Tap Delete Secret Conversations
  3. Tap Delete All.

However, it’s worth noting that the other person you’re messaging using the secret conversations feature has full access to your messages (else, how will he/she be able to read it?) and can choose to share the conversation with others using the screenshot or other means. End-to-end encryption only safeguards your messages from others, but does not guarantee that the person who receives the message will also choose to keep the message secure.

If you wish to delete messages that you send after a specific amount of time, you can also set a timer to have your messages disappear from the conversation. You can do so by tapping on the timer icon in the text box and setting the timer to make the message disappear. Once the time runs out, the messages will vanish from devices of all users who are part of the chat.

Facing issues using secret conversations feature in Facebook Messenger? Post in the comments section!