We have already talked about what end-to-end encryption means for WhatsApp which, briefly said, allows protect the content of messages transmitted via the internet along the entire route, so that not only are they not readable by those who intercept the traffic (through software or hacker technology), but that they are also encrypted for those who manage the service, that is, in this case, by Facebook employees.
If we haven’t used it yet, in this guide we will show you how to start one secret conversation on Messengerreminding you that this function is slightly different than the one seen on WhatsApp and is very similar to secret chat seen on Telegram.
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How to start a secret chat on Messenger
In order to start a secret chat on Messenger, we start the app, log in with our Facebook account (if the Facebook app is present, the account will be immediately visible and selectable), start a normal chat with one of our friends and click on his profile picture (top left). After opening the list of options, scroll and press on the item Start a secret conversation.
The notice will appear that the chat now it is protected with end-to-end encryption and all messages exchanged will not be recorded or recovered in any way. Unlike what happens with other conversations, this secret chat is also not displayed by other devices to which you are connected and it is not even readable from the Messages section of the Facebook site.
In the secret messenger chat, you can send stickers, photos and images, but not videos and GIFs. On the other hand, you cannot start a secret group conversation. This secret chat feature only works if the two people both have thelatest version of Facebook Messenger installed on the device. The most interesting thing is that if either of them cancels the secret chat, the messages disappear for both of them and are no longer readable or recoverable in any way.
Facebook Messenger therefore allows you to send messages that can be destroyed at the user’s discretion as others do app come Telegram e Snapchat.
To check the effectiveness of the encryption, let’s go to the Settings menu (by pressing on our profile picture), open the menu Privacy and press on Secret conversationsso that we can view the unique keys associated with our devices (each device has its own unique key for encrypting messages).
Enable temporary messages
As an additional security and privacy system we can enable (even before activating private conversations) temporary messages, i.e. messages that are deleted after a certain period of time. To enable a timer, simply press on the profile image of the user we are talking to, press on Temporary message mode and enable the switch on the screen.
After turning on temporary messages we follow the procedure seen in the previous chapter to activate a private conversation, so as to automatically delete the messages saved in the encrypted chat without having to close and reopen the secret conversation each time (so far the only method to permanently delete sent or received messages).
The operation is very similar to the ephemeral messages seen on WhatsApp, which we talked about in the guide to automatic disappearing messages with timer on WhatsApp.
Secret conversations are very useful in chat for those who want hide one or more secrets and prefer to use the Messenger app compared to other apps that offer a similar function (just think of WhatsApp or Telegram). Conversations are protected by end-to-end encryption (which on Messenger is not active by default) and there is no way to retrieve the messages once the chat is closed, even more so if we had also activated temporary messages (another very useful function of Messenger).
However, the fact remains that Facebook is not as reliable in terms of privacy as many believe and that, as already reported, the best app to create real secret and untraceable chats is Signalwhich works exclusively through message encryption.
Since Signal is very little used, a good compromise is Telegram, which offers simple and functional chats and allows you to start secret chats very similar to those seen on Messenger; to learn more we can read our guide on how make secure calls and video calls with Telegram.