Social networking giant Facebook has taken a cue from Telegram and its own entity WhatsApp to work on an end-to-end encryption technique for its Messenger chats. The feature will be called Secret Conversations where users can also determine how long they want their messages to be visible in the chat window.
The company announced the roll out of the encrypted feature on its blog, saying, "Your messages and calls on Messenger already benefit from strong security systems. 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."
The feature, which has been under testing for quite a while will allow users on Facebook's Messenger app to not just keep their conversations secure and secret but also set a timer to control the length of time each message they send remains visible within the conversation. In order to achieve this, the company has used a technology called Signal Protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems.
However, initiating a secret conversation with a fellow user is purely optional. This is because if this feature is on, the conversations it will only reflect on a single device. So those who want to keep switching between devices such as a tablet, desktop computer or their phones should not ideally opt for this feature. Additionally, the feature when switched on does not support rich content like GIFs and videos.
The latest feature is an addition to an array of social media platforms opting for encryption-based messaging services for security and privacy reasons. Law makers and cyber authorities around the world are, however, divided on the encryption debate; many have been saying privacy rights cannot be greater than security threats as these platforms are being used to plan terror attacks as well as spread extremist propaganda.