Great news privacy lovers! Facebook has decided to follow in the footsteps of WhatsApp and give Facebook Messenger users the opportunity to encrypt their conversations.
The new feature is called 'Secret Conversations' and was rolled out to all Android and iOS users yesterday. Secret Conversations allows Messenger users the option to send end-to-end encrypted messages to their Facebook contacts. These encrypted messages cannot be read by anyone, not even Facebook.
Unlike WhatsApp, however, Secret Conversations does not encrypt ALL Facebook messages but is instead an opt-in service. So in order to send encrypted messages you will have to start a new 'secret' conversation with your Messenger contact. Here's how to do it (we've used iOS as an example but Android is pretty much the same):
How to send encrypted messages on Facebook
1. Update your Messenger app to get the lastest version.
2. Open the Messenger app and click on the top right corner to compose a message like you normally would.
3. Now click the 'Secret' button on the top right and select the friend you would like to have an encrypted conversation with.
4. You will now see this screen, informing you that you are starting an encrypted conversation. Click OK (or Learn More if you really, really love encryption!).
5. And now you're having a end-to-end encrypted conversation! Another cool feature is that you can set a timer on a message so that it will self destruct anywhere between 5 seconds and 1 day after it is read. Great if you ever need to send someone your credit card details, for example.
So there you have it, Facebook is now helping to improve the privacy and security of it's millions of Messenger app users by enabling them to send encrypted messages. Thanks Facebook!
But wait! Governments, hackers and cyber criminals may no longer be able to read our Facebook messages but what about every other move we make online? To stay truly private on the web you need a VPN and luckily for you ZenMate has a great one. Check out our article What is a VPN? to learn more about it, including every day examples of when you should definitely be using one. There is even a mobile app, so check it out if you're looking for complete mobile security - not just on Facebook.