Following the trend aimed at stronger security and protection against hackers who try snoop and pry into your affairs, Facebook announced Friday it would roll out optional “end-to-end encryption” for private messages and a self-destruct timer for messages for its Messenger app.
According to Facebook, the feature is called “Secret Conversations,” and it only allows a message to “be read on one device of the person you’re communicating with”. Secret Conversations is initially rolling out in beta to a select group of users, and will block messages from being intercepted by anyone, and even Facebook itself. In essence this new feature can be read only by the sender and recipient.
“Providing more ways for people to safely share is an important part of making the world more open and connected,” said David Marcus vice president of Facebook.
“Whether you’re asking a doctor for medical advice, sending sensitive account information to your spouse, or even your Social Security number, it’s important to have options available for sharing these kinds of very sensitive messages.”
Earlier this year Facebook implemented end-to-end encryption on its WhatsApp messaging service. Although Some law enforcement officials and lawmakers have criticized these moves, pointing out that strong encryption can allow criminals to operate in secret, others have praised the idea saying it would boost security as well of privacy of individuals.
Facebook also made a statement, saying that the new feature will be optional “because many people want Messenger to work when you switch between devices, such as a tablet, desktop computer or phone” and that encrypted messages may only be read on one device.
Secret conversations are available on a limited test basis right now, but we will be making the option more widely available this summer
Other platforms such as Viber, Apple’s iMessage and Google’s Allo offer similar features. From what is seen in Facebook’s newsroom, Secret Conversations was built on the Signal Protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems. This is the same protocol used in Google’s Allo and WhatsApp.
Facebook is an online social networking service headquartered in Menlo Park, California, in the United States. Its website was launched on February 4, 2004, by Mark Zuckerberg with his Harvard College roommates and fellow students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The founders had initially limited the website’s membership to Harvard students, but later expanded it to colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. Its name comes from the face book directories often given to American university students.