White House staffers are using this self-destructing messages app to gossip in private -- here's how it works

There’s a new messaging app trending in Washington D.C.

The Confide messaging app is used by White House staffers to gossip about the Trump administration in private, the Washington Post and Axios have reported.

The reason staffers chose Confide over other secure messaging apps, like Signal, is that Confide erases messages as soon as they’re read.

This feature has lead to a big spike in Confide users in not only the government, but reporters as well. “Suddenly popular among White House reporters: Confide,” Yahoo Washington correspondent Oliver Knox tweeted on Tuesday.

“It’s absolutely bananas over here,” Confide president Jon Brod told Business Insider, regarding the attention the small New York-based company has received after recent reports.

Confide is also introducing a new, free, verified-badge program for reporters around the world, Brod said in a Confide message. The blue checkmark goes next to the journalist’s username. It works similarly to Twitter.

Here’s what you need to know about Confide, the self-destructing messages app:

This is what Confide looks like. Those blocks mean you've received a message but you haven't opened it yet. It's available for most platforms, including Mac, iOS, and Android.


To read a message, you hold your finger down on the blocks, which reveals the message underneath line by line. This makes it harder to screenshot or photograph the entire message.


When you've finished reading or some time has elapsed, the message disappears, and the app shows an animation of the blocks crumbling.


Confide is also useful because these self-destructing and limited-viewing features can be applied to images and documents.


It's free, but you can pay to unlock additional features, including message retraction.


More info here.

The self-destructing feature, especially, is why White House staffers worried about being caught leaking have adopted the app. 'Numerous senior GOP operatives and several members of the Trump administration have downloaded the app, spurred by the airing of hacked Democratic emails,' Axios reported.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

More details here.

White House staffers are using Confide because they're worried that they will be accused of leaking to the media, the Washington Post reported.

The White House

More information here.

According to Confide, the company deletes all messages from its servers and wipes them from people's devices after they're read. Other secure messengers, like Signal, do not wipe read messages -- meaning they could be intercepted if someone gains access to a phone where the messages have not been explicitly deleted.

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Donald Trump.

Still, some security researchers are sceptical about Confide's cryptography bonafides, mostly because the app is not open-source like Signal and may use old protocols.

You can download Confide for iPhone, Mac, Android, and Windows.

Confide has been around for three years, and has raised $US3 million in funding from Google Ventures, SV Angel, and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

More details and links on the Confide website.

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