Most popular cross-platform messaging services offer end-to-end encryption these days to assure their users that their conversations are transmitted safely and securely. The need to assure users of this feature only became greater after Edward Snowden’s revelations about the government’s electronic spying programs. Facebook Messenger is one such popular messaging service and it has been reported today that end-to-end encryption has now been rolled out to its more than one billion users across the globe.
This enhanced security feature protects users against monitoring by government agencies, hackers, or even Facebook itself since it’s unable to encrypt messages sent between users. The only caveat here is that this feature isn’t turned on by default.
Users actually have to turn on the “secret conversations” option in Facebook Messenger to ensure that their chat is encrypted end-to-end. This option can be accessed by tapping on a contact’s name in any regular chat and selecting “secret conversations.”
Once this feature is activated users can continue to chat as they normally would. The feature also enables them to add a self-destruct timer to their messages which can range from five seconds to 24 hours. Media content such as videos and GIFs can not be sent in secret conversations, but pictures and stickers are supported.
Facebook Messenger’s end-to-end encryption feature will only work as long as both participants in a conversation have the latest version of the Messenger app, and they will only be able to access those encrypted conversations on a single device.