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Facebook Provide Secret Conversations, But You Still Have to Switch Them On

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We've recently heard that Facebook plan on offering better encryption services within Messenger. This feature is being dubbed 'secret conversations', and shouldn't be confused with the secret inbox, which is, as far as we know, still something different. These secret conversations should offer users more privacy when it comes to their messages, but for some people what Facebook is offering isn't enough.

The problem with this idea is that the encryption isn't turned on by default. If you want to be able to send fully encrypted messages then you need to turn the feature on - as with the new Google app. This is confusing some people considering the fact Facebook own WhatsApp, which is lauded for the privacy it provides by having the encryption always on.

In some ways Facebook have taken what they've learned from their secondary messaging app because if you do turn the encryption on in Facebook Messenger, not even Facebook will be able to read your messages, but this is causing  users to question why they didn't go the whole hog so people wouldn't have to worry if the message they want to send is going to be encrypted or not. If you aren't sure Facebook have released a timer feature that means that message will disappear after a certain period of time but is this enough?

Well actually, it might just be enough and you realise that as you start looking into things. Facebook had to make a decision about whether they wanted users to be able to send videos, switch between devices and view their message history or whether they wanted all conversations to be private.

Secret conversations will be sent to one device only and you might not be able to go back and read it later if you have to change device and video, well, video is a whole different monster to encrypt so, of course that isn't going to be completely private yet.

These so-called secret conversations are only Facebook's first attempt at improving on encryption and they are doing their best. Yes, with this there is the risk of human error and sending the wrong thing in a message that someone else could accidentally see, but you always run the risk of that anyway.

The other thing to remember is that Facebook is a US company and American law enforcement services are actually encouraging companies not to use end-to-end encryption as though it provides users more privacy, it also makes it harder for the FBI and so on to harvest necessary evidence they might have been able to gather in the past. Of course, most people aren't going to be committing crimes so should be entitled to privacy so all Facebook can do now is to try to appease both the public as well as global law enforcement.

This isn't a too widespread problem at this moment in time as the secret conversations are currently only available to a few test users but it will be rolled out to all Messenger users later this summer.



Rosina is a Songbird writer with a degree in Creative Writing. She's trying to focus on her novel on the side but is glad to be playing around with apps and writing about them in the mean time! Follow her @Songbird_Rosina


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Facebook Provide Secret Conversations, But You Still Have to Switch Them On Reviewed by Rosina Brooker on Monday, July 11, 2016 Rating: 5

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