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Messaging app Viber is adding self-destructing chats for its 800 million users

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You might not have heard of Viber, but it’s one of the world’s biggest messaging apps — more than 800 million registered users worldwide, with strong followings in parts of Asia, Eastern Europe, and Northern Africa. Now, in order to give its customers a little more privacy and security, the company is introducing a new feature named “secret chats.” This basically gives users the option of starting conversations that self-destruct after a certain time limit.

It follows on from the app’s introduction of “secret messages” earlier this year — which allowed users to put the same self-destructing timer on individual messages. Secret Chats also block messages from being forwarded to other conversations, notify users on iOS when someone takes a screenshot, and blocks screenshots altogether on Android. Like Viber’s regular conversations, messages are encrypted end-to-end, and you can also hide secret chats behind a PIN code if you wish.

Secret chats vs. regular chats on Viber.

It’s just another example of how privacy and security features that were previously niche have become commonplace in the messaging world. Everyone needs to encrypt, because everyone is spying. Viber’s secret chats function should be rolling out to users on Android and iOS early next week.