What Is a Secret Conversation on Facebook and How Do You Start One?
Protect your conversations on Facebook Messenger with this security-savvy feature.
Facebook users with privacy concerns have a new secret weapon. With the Facebook Secret Conversations feature, you can hide your conversations on the Messenger app from snooping hackers, governments, and even Facebook itself. Intrigued? You should be. We’re about to give you the lowdown on how this feature works and how to use it. Once you have the scoop, learn how to tell if someone blocked you on Facebook, how to block someone on Facebook Messenger, and how to see who unfollowed you on Facebook.
What is a secret conversation on Facebook?
The Facebook Secret Conversations feature protects messages on the Messenger app using end-to-end encryption. Encrypting a message converts the text into a form that only the sender and recipient have permission to view; to outsiders, the messages would appear as a random jumble of letters and numbers. Cybercriminals, governments, and even Facebook cannot read the contents of messages in secret mode, according to Facebook. It would be impossible for Facebook to decrypt messages, and it’s unlikely that the company would hand over encrypted conversations to authorities with search warrants, privacy experts say. For additional security, the feature makes messages disappear after five seconds or up to a day—similar to Snapchat. Users might consider using Secret Conversations if they are sending sensitive information or have concerns about smartphone apps spying on their data.
How can you tell if someone has started a secret conversation on Facebook?
When you send a message to someone using the Secret Conversations feature, a pop-up bubble will alert the other person that they are participating in an encrypted chat room. Text underneath the other person’s profile picture will also inform the other user in the chat that the conversation is encrypted. Facebook’s apps may be getting safer, but if you have these apps, your privacy might be at risk.
Do secret conversations show up in Messenger?
You can use Secret Conversations in Facebook’s Messenger app on any iOS or Android device. This feature is not available on Facebook’s website, though, so you can’t access it on a desktop computer. Keep in mind that Facebook Secret Conversations are only visible on the devices that you and the recipient used to start the conversation. And even if you could share that data, you shouldn’t.
How do you find secret conversations?
If you want to start a secret conversation on Facebook, you’ll need to head over to the Messenger app. You can always return to an existing secret conversation in the Messenger app, too. It will be listed with other Messenger conversations and have a small gray lock icon on the left-hand side. Not a huge fan of Facebook? Try these other secure messaging apps to keep your conversations safe.
How to start a secret conversation on Facebook
rd.com, Getty Images, via iPhone (3)
Creating a secret conversation on Facebook is easy. Before getting started, make sure you have the latest version of the Facebook app on your phone. Then, follow these steps:
- Open the Facebook Messenger app.
- Tap on the pencil icon in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen.
- Tap Secret.
- Select the user with whom you want to start a conversation.
- By default, the messages you type will disappear after 10 seconds. To change the timer, tap the text box and choose your preferred time-out setting.
Now that you know how to use the Facebook Secret Conversations feature, keep an eye out for more mobile phone security threats that could put your data at risk.
- Facebook: “Secret Conversations”
- GovTech: “Warrant for Encrypted Facebook Messages Causes Privacy Worry”
- CNN: “Facebook’s ‘Secret Conversations’ mode deletes messages for extra security”
- Wired: “How to find and use Facebook’s Secret messages”