Messaging applications are gradually evolving into one of the most sophisticated platforms out there with bots, third-party integrations and more. However, the privacy factor also needs to be acknowledged when a huge pile of user data is at stakes. Companies including Apple, Google have already revealed their plans for securing information, although, Facebook’s widely popular Messenger app was yet to be treated with some sort of encryption layer despite WhatsApp sporting the feature for quite a few months now. Today, the social giant has finally announced that they’re testing End-to-End compression on their native chatting service.
Facebook is now gradually enabling end-to-end encryption for users with an optional feature titled “Secret conversations”. It works just as you expect it to, like an incognito mode on browsers. Whenever you launch a chat in a secret conversation, messages will be encrypted and only the receiver will be able to read them, not anyone else including Facebook. Additionally, these chats will be limited to the starting device meaning you won’t have the ability to switch devices in between. For instance, if you commenced a chat on a smartphone, the same won’t be accessible on the website interface. Additionally, you can enable a self-destruction mode and embed messages with timers. Hence, they’ll be only visible for a particular time frame specified by you. Facebook also mentions that they are utilizing the Signal Protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems, the same mechanism WhatsApp and Google’s Allo work on.
Moreover, Secret Conversations currently don’t have the support for graphical content like GIFs, videos, payments( What? ) and more. Although, I do believe it won’t take much time for Facebook to bring those abilities too. End-to-end encryption on Messenger will be widely rolling out this Summer after the team is completely satisfied with the user feedback and performance. It’s a great approach but until Facebook streamlines this encryption across the entire service, using bots for payments will also be a concerning subject.