Facebook has finished rolling out end-to-end encryption on Messenger, allowing users of the app to protect their conversations from being monitored by hackers, government agencies, or Facebook itself. Trials for the feature started back in July, but this week sources from the company told Wired that the encryption was now available to all of the app's 1 billion users.
Messenger's new encryption comes in the form of "secret conversations" — an option that's available by clicking on a user's name in any regular chat. Once activated you can talk as normal, with the added option of setting a self-destruct timer on your messages — anywhere from fives seconds to a day.
send stickers with end-to-end encryption
Some functionality, like sending GIFS and videos, is unavailable, but you can still share pictures and use stickers. (But now they're encrypted stickers.) The feature will only be available if both users have the latest version of Messenger, and the conversations can only be accessed on a single device. You can also delete all secret conversations stored on your device from your profile settings page.
Messenger isn't the first chat app to offer end-to-end encryption of course; it's not even the first Facebook-owned chat app to do so. WhatsApp rolled out the feature on its service as of April 2016, and various apps including Telegram, Wire, and Signal offer encryption as well, with varying degrees of user-friendliness.
With Messenger, encryption will only be applied when users specifically ask for it, similar to Google's Allo or Telegram. That, undoubtedly, will mean that the vast majority of conversations go unencrypted. Most users won't know or care about encryption. However, it has to be said that offering some protection is better than none at all — especially when it means end-to-end encryption is now available for another 1 billion users.