Facebook, a social network where oversharing is highly encouraged, wants the 900 million users of its Messenger chat app to know it’s serious about privacy, too.
The company said today that it’s testing self-destructing messages with end-to-end encryption, an offering that will be rolled out later this summer. These so-called “secret conversations” will let senders set a timer for how long messages remain visible.
The news comes three months after WhatsApp, another Facebook-owned chat app, added end-to-end encryption for its billion-plus users. With end-to-end encryption, messages can’t be read by Facebook or any other third parties. In the event of a subpoena, Facebook would simply say it has no chat logs to hand over to authorities.
Facebook is going a step further with Messenger by adding Snapchat-esque ephemerality. Secret conversations are device specific, so the messages won’t be pushed to all the devices a person accesses Facebook on. Users will have to designate a device to receive secret conversations.
According to TechCrunch, encryption won’t be turned on for users by default. The company says that’s because rich content, like GIFs and videos, and other Messenger features aren’t supported in secret conversations.