Facebook adds end to end encryption to Messenger

Facebook has announced on its press release that the company will begin testing a new option for its Messenger app to better support conversations about sensitive topics. The new feature called Secret Conversations enables users to have an end to end encryption of conversations within the Messenger app.

Photo: Messenger Secret Convertsation

The company uses Signal Protocol, a modern and open source strong encryption protocol created by the non-profit Open Whisper Systems. This encryption protocol was the same protocol that is currently used in Facebook’s owned WhatsApp, Google Allo and Signal’s standalone app.

One thing that separates the Facebook’s Messenger among other apps that uses the same encryption is that it is implemented as an opt-in feature within the Messenger. This means that users can have the option to turn on or turn off the Secret Conversation feature manually. If you will have just a normal conversation with a friend, you can leave the feature off. But if you will start a chat which requires exchanging of sensitive data like health information, bank accounts and transactions, then it is best to turn the Secret Conversations feature on.

To enable you to do this we are starting to test the ability to create one-to-one secret conversations in Messenger that will be end-to-end encrypted and which can only be read on one device of the person you’re communicating with. That means the messages are intended just for you and the other person — not anyone else, including us. Within a secret conversation, you can also choose to set a timer to control the length of time each message you send remains visible within the conversation. Our technology uses the Signal Protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems. – Facebook

It is a good take for the company to provide encryption that even the police with warrant or the Facebook itself cannot decipher. The feature as of now is currently available only to a small set of people for testing. The company says that its new feature will be released to the public early in June next year.

For a much better understanding about its Messenger Secret Conversations, Facebook shared a technical whitepaper to the public.