To paraphrase Zoolander, end-to-end encryption is so hot right now. People are becoming far more cautious about the information they share via regular messaging channels, causing the use of tools such as WhatsApp to skyrocket. What you may not know is that it’s possible to send secret Facebook messages too.
So what does it actually do? According to Facebook’s website, “a secret conversation in Messenger is encrypted end-to-end, which means the messages are intended just for you and the other person – not anyone else, including us.”
That’s terribly noble of the company, but there are a couple of downsides. First, you can only use one device per secret thread, meaning that you can’t start an encrypted conversation on your iPhone and then move to your iPad. The second issue is that, brace yourself, secret conversations don’t support GIFs. If that’s not a deal-breaker, read on.
If you want to start a secret Facebook message thread from an existing conversation, tap the “i” icon in the top-right of the screen and select Secret Conversation from the settings menu that appears (see below). This will take you to a new, black and white screen where you can happily tap away without the fear of prying eyes.
To start a secret Facebook message from scratch, click the new message balloon and toggle the option. In Android, this will be a small padlock switch in the top-right corner; in iOS, it’s simply the word “Secret”.
But Facebook’s not done yet. For added security or to pretend you’re James Bond, you can even set the secret messages to “self-destruct” a certain time after they’ve been read. To do so, click the timer icon in the bottom toolbar in a secret conversation. The times range from just five seconds to a whole day.
Did someone say Snapchat?
Read next: How do I mute a Facebook friend?
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