Messenger’s new opt-in end-to-end encryption feature notifies you when someone takes a screenshot of your secret conversations.
Meta has announced updates for end-to-end encrypted chats on Facebook Messenger. Default end-to-end encryption won’t arrive on Messenger until sometime in 2023, but now you can opt-in and take advantage of the added features.
The most noteworthy development is the addition of a control to its disappearing messages that notifies you if your chat partner takes a screenshot of your conservation. Here’s what you need to know.
Messenger Now Has Full End-to-End Encryption (E2EE)
Meta’s journey to encrypting our chats on Messenger has been a bit of a winding road. It began when Meta (then Facebook) introduced Secret Conversations to Messenger in 2016.
Previously, Facebook Messenger allowed you to start a conversation on one device and continue the conversation on another device. Third parties such as government agencies, cybercriminals, and even Meta’s employees could easily access your chats because they weren’t encrypted.
Secret Conversations on Messenger changed that by restricting your chat to the device you initiated it on and also encrypted the conversation end to end. Security was further enhanced when Messenger introduced Vanish Mode in November 2020, which allowed your messages to disappear after a while and notified you when someone took a screenshot of said messages.
Although E2EE has been available on Meta’s services for a while, it has been rolling it out slowly due to concerns by law enforcement that E2EE would give an unfair advantage to criminals. So, Meta started cautiously testing the feature with users who already had an existing chat thread and were connected, rather than everybody in the world.
However, Meta has announced that E2EE is rolling out to all 900 million Messenger users globally, but with one caveat; E2EE is not available by default. You have to turn it on every time you send a message. This is out of deference to law enforcement, with whom they are still working things out.
Meta expects default encryption on Messenger to be globally implemented by 2023, when Instagram and Messenger are also likely to merge.
How to Activate Screenshot Notifications on Messenger
Because Messenger’s end-to-end encryption isn’t turned on by default, you have to enable Secret Conversations with each Messenger contact. Both parties must have the latest version of the app. If one party doesn’t, they’ll have to update the app before this feature can work on their end.
- Open the Messenger app. Tap the Pencil icon that you’ll find in the top-right corner. This will enable you to compose a message.
- Select the person or group you wish to chat with.
- Toggle the Padlock icon (Android) or the Secret text (iOS) at the top-right corner (this puts your chat in secret conversation mode). If you reverse this action, you go back to the non-secret mode.
- In secret conversation mode, Messenger shows you a timer icon beside the chatbox. Tap on it and select your preferred timer option (from five seconds to one day). This will decide how long your message lasts after your chat partner reads it.
- Type a message as you normally would and hit Send.
Once you do the above, if your chat partner takes a screenshot of your secret conversation before the message disappears, Messenger will immediately let you know.
Other Updates to Messenger
Besides the opt-in end-to-end encryption feature, encrypted voice and video calls are also now available to everyone. Users can also reply to specific messages in their end-to-end encrypted chats, either by long pressing or swiping to reply. In addition, typing indicators have been added, so you can now see when others are typing.
Meta has also added Verified Badges to help identify authentic accounts and have meaningful interactions. The new Save Media feature will let you save a video or image by long-pressing any media you receive. And lastly, the Video edits feature will enable you to edit a photo or video from your gallery before sending it, meaning you can add stickers, text, or crop and edit audio (for videos).
Tired of being bombarded with messages from someone on Facebook Messenger? Here’s how you can block them on the app.
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