Facebook Messenger’s end-to-end encrypted mode, Secret Conversations, is getting a major update today. The company is adding several new features that would make the mode more attractive and put it on par with regular messages, including typing indicators in chats, reactions, and GIF support.
Secret Conversations debuted on Messenger a few years ago, but they were pretty barebones and offered nothing but one-to-one messaging support. The feature gained support for end-to-end encrypted group chats and calls in Summer 2021, and today’s update enables almost everything you’ve come to expect from the regular Messenger app. This includes commonplace things like emoji reactions, typing indicators, gifs and stickers, forwarding and direct replying to messages. There are also media-related features, including saving media and editing videos or photos before sending. Messenger also lets you know when someone takes screenshots of your conversation. Secret Conversations are is supposed to be secret, but no encryption beats a simple PNG screenshot of the other party.
End-to-end encrypted chats, as the name suggests, are more secure than unencrypted chats and are used as a selling point for smaller messaging services like Signal and Telegram. Despite the company’s strong reputation for privacy, Meta’s other messaging service, WhatsApp, has also encrypted its app (albeit by default). As the company moves towards merging both services, at least on the backend, it’s a necessary step for Messenger’s Secret Conversations to reach par with the standard WhatsApp experience. “We want to make Messenger interoperable with WhatsApp, so you can send messages back and forth just like you connect email and different email accounts,” Meta’s Loredana Crisan said in 2021.
With this update, Messenger is that much closer to being an app you can rely on for regular, secure conversations.
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