Last Spring WhatsApp pushed out code adding a new layer of security to a billion users’ apps, creating the largest end-to-end encrypted messaging network in history. Now WhatsApp’s parent company Facebook has finally given people who use its other massively popular chat app the chance to catch up.
A Facebook spokesperson says the company just finished rolling out “Secret Conversations” to all 900 million Facebook Messenger users in the past few weeks. The opt-in feature allows users to encrypt their messages so that no one can read them except the two people on either end of a conversation—not even Facebook or law enforcement or intelligence agencies. “Your messages are already secure, but Secret Conversations are encrypted from one device to another,” states a description in the app when users initiate their first encrypted conversation.
If you want to start a new encrypted conversation:
1. Tap the new conversation icon at the top right.
2. Tap “Secret” in the top right.
3. Choose your recipient and begin messaging.
If you want to turn an ongoing conversation into an encrypted Secret Conversation:
1. Open the message thread.
2. Tap their name at the top of your screen.
3. Tap “Secret Conversation” to switch it over.
If you don’t see those options, it could mean the recipient doesn’t have the current version of Facebook Messenger. They’ll need to update their app for Secret Conversations to work. Also, Secret Conversations don’t allow the sending of GIFs and videos, but you can still share picture and use stickers. And it’s important to note that you can only access your Secret Conversations from the device it was enabled on. So if you start an encrypted conversation on your phone, that’s the only place you can send and receive encrypted messages for that particular conversation.