Facebook is increasing the amount of privacy people have when communicating over its Messenger platform, which boasts over a billion users.
“Secret conversations” with end-to-end encryption are now being tested across Messenger, the company wrote in a Facebook news room post published on Friday.
Facebook currently has the ability to see what you are saying to people in your network over Messenger but the new feature will change that.
“Today we are beginning to roll out a new option within Messenger to better support conversations about sensitive topics,” Facebook wrote.
Facebook said the additional safeguards are designed to give Facebook users that bit more confidence when discussing private information like an illness or a health issue with trusted friends and family, or sending financial information to an accountant.
Secret conversations on Messenger — underpinned by the Signal Protocol, which has been developed by Open Whisper Systems — can only be read on one of your devices and one device belonging to the person you’re communicating with.
“We recognise that experience may not be right for everyone,” Facebook admitted. “It’s also important to note that in secret conversations we don’t currently support rich content like GIFs and videos, making payments, or other popular Messenger features.”
Facebook itself will not be able to read the messages, possibly to the annoyance of law enforcement agencies that want to see what suspected criminals have been saying over Messenger.
Messenger users will be able to dictate how long each message they send stays visible for thanks to an inbuilt timer function. Facebook said the feature will be rolled out more widely across the summer following a limited number of early tests.