Facebook Messenger is following the footsteps of messaging systems such as WhatsApp that have implemented end to end encrypted conversations for extra security and is now in the process of testing a more secure way of sending messages.
At the moment, only very few Facebook Messenger users can test the new end-to-end encryption feature which basically allows them to send messages to each other that can only be viewed by the two people in the conversation. No third party can see the messages, not even Facebook. Not only that, but there is also a timer setting for messages to self-destruct after being sent.
This feature is achieved by using an open source Signal Protocol courtesy of Open Whisper Systems and if you want to know more about how the whole thing works you can check out their site where they’ve detailed every aspect of it.
Facebook posted on its blog yesterday about the importance of messages being private especially when it comes to sending financial information to your account managers or talking about an illness with a family member.
However, right now, the end to end encrypted Facebook messages do not support features such as sending payments or sharing media like videos and GIFs.
Furthermore, users can opt for the encryption or not. It depends on the users if they want to use the feature – it’s not a default setting like we’ve seen on WhatsApp (which is also owned by Facebook).
The feature will be more widely available this summer and Facebook also encourages feedback from the users that already have it because it wants to gather info about the performance and functionality of the feature, thus making it possible to implement other tools in the future.
It’s a good move on the part of Facebook as it has over 800 million monthly users and a more secure messaging system was definitely needed.