With its vast 900 million global social network users and over 79 million U.S. users, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has leveraged the userbase to add more platforms to its basket along with its acquired messaging platform WhatsApp. The social media company has also launched Facebook Messenger just to make people chat with each other on its social network in a standalone application. The company is trying very hard to make people use their chat app more, and they also want its FB users to use the Messenger platform for normal text messaging as well. Now, to gain more trust, Facebook has enabled E2EE (End-to-End Encryption) on the platform.
What is E2EE (End-to-End Encryption)? For your information, there are 680 chat applications which has over 1 million users in the U.S. itself. As of now, most of these popular chat applications use the encryption in their apps, which encrypts the data sent by the user till their server and then from their server to the user’s device. In this case, the company has access to your data (messages, files, etc) through their servers, if in any case the government wants access to it).
“Many people want Messenger to work when you switch between devices, such as a tablet, desktop computer or phone,” the company said in an announcement on its website. “Secret conversations can only be read on one device and we recognize that experience may not be right for everyone.”
End-to-End Encryption means, the chat application itself encrypts the data from one user and send it to the server, then the server sends the data to the recipients without decrypting it. Here, the chat application present in the recipient’s device will decrypt the data to show the message to the user. Hence, there will be no any ways (according to the companies) these companies access to your messages and files). You might have seen some text alerts in the chat window of WhatsApp messenger about these End-to-End Encryptions.
How is FB Messenger’s E2EE different than other apps? In WhatsApp, Viber, Line, Telgram and other few chat applications, almost every personal communication are encrypted one-to-one. However, in FB Messenger, you will have an option to start a “Secret Conversation” with the intended user to share personal, secret and sensitive information by adding an expiry time of your choice. If you set the expiry time to 10 minutes, the message you sent through the “Secret Conversation” will disappear in 10 minutes, as simple as this.
When will be FB Messenger “Secret Conversations” available? According to the Facebook press release, the company has already started testing out the feature by enabling it in a few batches of users since July 8. That means, in a few days, the “Secret Conversation” option will appear in all Messenger users’ apps. However, Facebook says, “Secret conversations are available on a limited test basis right now, but we will be making the option more widely available this summer.”
How to use Secret Conversations in FB Messenger? It’s very simple. When you are chatting with your friend, if you think you will have to shift to “Secret Conversation” to send some sensitive information, you just have to tap on his username on the top of the conversation window and it shows the user details and other settings. In this window, you will find a new option called “Secret Conversation“, just tap on it. Now, when you start sending your first message through this window, you will be asked to set the expiry period for the messages, just scroll and select the desired expiry time and tap on it. This expiry time will be set to all your conversations through this window with your friend. Watch the video below, to understand it easily.
Meanwhile, the popular messaging apps like Viber, Line, Telegram, WhatsApp, Signal, Cyber Dust, iMessage and Allo uses the End-to-End Encryption on their platforms. But, Facebook tries this with a difference, but in a Snapchat flavor – expiry period for each “Secret Conversation.”