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Facebook Messenger adds end-to-end encryption through 'Secret Conversations' feature

Increasing user privacy appears to be the next big focus for technology companies and after WhatsApp, Facebook has rolled out end-to-end encryption on its Messenger platform. This will ensure that the conversations remain private and are not accessible to anyone other than sender and receiver.

  • Updated: October 5, 2016 12:24 PM IST

According to various studies, internet users spend over half their waking hours using Facebook and with such heavy consumption, privacy concerns have increased. To secure users’ conversations, the Mark Zuckerberg-owned social networking giant has introduced end-to-end encryption for its messaging platform. With end-to-end encryption, the chats exchanged on Facebook Messenger will not be accessible even to Facebook. The idea of user privacy on the internet came into public scanner when former NSA agent Edward Snowden exposed mass surveillance programs carried out by the US and UK governments, under which it was alleged that citizens’ digital lives were being snooped onto without consent for possible terror-related activities. Many technology companies admitted to giving out user data for governmental scrutiny but also pledged to strengthen security of users by introducing encryption at the very basic level.

Facebook recently introduced similar feature for its WhatsApp messaging app. However, unlike WhatsApp where all the messages are encrypted end-to-end once a user updates to the new version of the app, the encryption on Facebook Messenger will require the user to enable it for every new message. For the nearly one billion monthly active Messenger users, individually selecting conversations to enable encryption might seem like a herculean task, but in all likelihood, an automatic encryption feature will be soon rolled out in the future.

People can toggle the “Secret Conversations” feature on in settings to enable end-to-end encryption on Messenger, technology website Engadget reported on Wednesday. “Once folks download the new version, they’ll see the option to tap “secret” in the top right corner of the “new message” screen. Both sender and receiver need the latest edition of the app to enable the encryption,” the report added.

In the case of WhatsApp, users need to have an updated version to ensure that their chats are end-to-end encrypted. ALSO READ: Facebook Messenger Lite for Android announced; here’s everything you need to know

“Messages you send to this chat and calls are now secured with end-to-end encryption. Tap for more info,” is the message that WhatsApp users currently receive. The encryption ensures that users’ messages, videos and photos can’t be read by anyone else — not even WhatsApp.

  • Published Date: October 5, 2016 12:19 PM IST
  • Updated Date: October 5, 2016 12:24 PM IST