This is not the first testing round that have been done by Facebook related to conversation privacy and messages disappearing after a set time. France was one of the countries that was chosen for the testing first time around, even though rumours hinted that other countries would be included too, eventually. End-to-end encryption was not so long ago made available by Whatsapp and any user of this app would have been made aware of it.
Recently, Facebook announced in a blog that a similar feature is being tested for their Messenger App, calling this feature “Secret Conversation”. Even though, similar in nature to the end-to-end encryption offered by Whatsapp, Facebook also stated in their blog post that Secret Conversations are as a result of additional safeguards often being required by users’ of this app.
In an attempt to meet these needs of users, Messenger is testing this end-to-end encryption feature at the moment. According to the blog, the feature enables users to have secret conversations; which is only shared between the device the message was sent from and the device it is communicating with. Thus, messages are not available to any other devices and cannot be read by anybody else, not even Facebook themselves. This feature will also be timer controlled, providing users with the option of choosing how long messages may be made available on the other device. Messenger users can also choose when to make use of Secret Conversation and when not to; allowing them to still have access to Messenger on other devices, while having a secret conversation on one.
Facebook is also aware that this feature may also not be to everybody’s liking as this feature can only be used on one device at a time. This only makes Secret Conversation available on the one device the message was received on and not multiple devices. Additional to this, the feature also does not support certain content that would otherwise be supported such as videos and the making of payments.
Since the “Secret Conversation” Messenger feature is only in its testing phase, its availability is limited at the moment. In this phase objections and feature faults are obtained and improved on in various fronts. Facebook, however, in their blog, suggested that availability to the general public could possibly be provided in months to come.