Facebook Messenger Introduces Secret Message Service

by Linda Olson July 11, 2016, 11:31

The service is built on the Signal protocol by Open Whisper Systems, which is widely used by messaging apps, said cybersecurity expert Professor Alan Woodward from Surrey University. But the way Facebook has chosen to deploy the feature may undercut its usefulness.

Users also will be able to set a timer to control how long the message remains visible to anyone, the company said Friday.

"Facebook will never have access to plain text messages unless one participant in a secret conversation voluntarily reports the conversation", it explained in a technical document. "While FB Messenger is the most popular messaging app, it is not always the most innovative", Castanon-Martinez said. "That's because many people want Messenger to work when you switch between devices, such as a tablet, desktop computer or phone", Facebook explained.

The encryption capability should help Facebook better monetize the Messenger app, Castanon-Martinez said.

On that note, it seems "Messenger" is a little behind on the game with regards to end-to-end security as Facebook's other chat service "WhatsApp", which the social media giant bought for $19 billion already implemented the protocol last April.

Facebook Messenger will soon get end-to-end encryption feature with new Secret Conversations mode, the company has confirmed.

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However, secret conversations can only be read on one device and won't support GIFs or videos.

Facebook Messenger went from boasting about 200 million users in 2014 to about 900 million now, The New York Times reported. "Facebook has made it clear that they want to be the preeminent platform for users to interact with the companies they do business with", he told us.

It is also adding a self-destruct option as well, where you will be able to add expiration dates to your messages. The new secret conversation is now only available on the apps and not on Messenger.com, Facebook chat or the desktop Messenger app.

As of the moment, secret conversations on Facebook Messenger is only available on a limited test basis.

However, Facebook said the metadata generated by the conversations, such as delivery and read receipts, will not be end-to-end encrypted, creating another potential way for third parties to gain access to private information.

More recently, the Brazilian government recently froze about $6 million in funds belonging to Facebook after the company failed to assist authorities intent on deciphering communications related to an global narcotics investigation sent over WhatsApp.


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