Facebook has reportedly been working on bringing end-to-end encryption to its Messenger platform for quite a while now, and it turns out they’re ready to start testing it ahead of a full public launch.
Facebook officially announced today that they’re testing end-to-end encryption within Messenger, locking down conversations so that even Facebook can’t access the content therein. However, unlike other messaging platforms where the end-to-end encryption is active by default and covers all conversations, Facebook will let Messenger users turn it on in a chat-by-chat basis. To differentiate between these standard and encrypted conversations, Facebook is calling them 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.”
Secret Conversations messages can have a timer to set how long they remain visible in the thread, and users can control which conversations are secure or not. That’s because the Secret Conversations can only be held on one device, and not kept up between other devices. It’s worth noting that Facebook says images sent in a Secret Conversation will be encrypted, too, but metadata will not be.
Facebook is testing Secret Conversations now, will a full rollout planned for the near future.