Facebook announces secret conversations

The Snapchat-like service will allow users to set how long their friends can view a message for

Facebook has announced a private messaging feature that will allow messages to be viewed for a limited period before being deleted.

The Snapchat-like feature is currently being trialled with a select group of Facebook Messenger users, who can specify how long they want messages to be viewable on the platform.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The messages are stored on the phone or tablet rather than Facebook servers, so they can only be set up on one device at a time. When the time limit is up, they will be removed from the device itself, so the recipient can't access them again.

Facebook said the option could be used by those who want to send sensitive information to friends, such as bank account information, or health data. It only applies to text messages, so can't be used for videos or pictures at the moment.

Additionally, because the system uses end-to-end encryption, the messages can never be accessed by Facebook, meaning it's super-secure, although this could lead to security problems if official organisations such as the police or NSA are investigating one of the individuals in the conversation.

"Facebook will never have access to plain text messages unless one participant in a secret conversation voluntarily reports the conversation," the company explained in a technical document.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Facebook has developed the feature using Open Whisper Systems' Signal technology that is used by a number of other messaging services. 

"Starting a secret conversation with someone is optional," Facebook said. "Secret conversations can only be read on one device and we recognise that experience may not be right for everyone."

Featured Resources

Top 5 challenges of migrating applications to the cloud

Explore how VMware Cloud on AWS helps to address common cloud migration challenges

Download now

3 reasons why now is the time to rethink your network

Changing requirements call for new solutions

Download now

All-flash buyer’s guide

Tips for evaluating Solid-State Arrays

Download now

Enabling enterprise machine and deep learning with intelligent storage

The power of AI can only be realised through efficient and performant delivery of data

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/internet-security/354484/facebook-exec-calls-cambridge-analytica-scandal-a-non-event
internet security

Facebook exec calls Cambridge Analytica scandal a "non event"

8 Jan 2020
Visit/hardware/mobile/354392/facebook-apps-dominated-this-decades-mobile-market
Mobile

Facebook apps dominated this decade's mobile market

18 Dec 2019
Visit/digital-currency/34762/china-prepares-to-launch-the-first-domestic-cryptocurrency
digital currency

China prepares to launch the first domestic cryptocurrency

6 Nov 2019
Visit/digital-currency/34578/mastercard-and-visa-abandon-support-of-facebooks-libra-cryptocurrency
digital currency

MasterCard and Visa abandon support of Facebook's Libra

14 Oct 2019

Most Popular

Visit/mobile/mobile-phones/355088/apple-lifts-iphone-purchase-restrictions
Mobile Phones

Apple lifts iPhone purchase restrictions

23 Mar 2020
Visit/operating-systems/microsoft-windows/355105/microsoft-puts-windows-development-on-lockdown
Microsoft Windows

Microsoft puts Windows development on lockdown

25 Mar 2020
Visit/security/data-breaches/355097/ge-employees-hit-by-canon-data-breach
data breaches

General Electric employees hit by Canon data breach

24 Mar 2020
Visit/cloud/355098/ibm-dedicates-supercomputing-power-to-coronavirus-researchers
high-performance computing (HPC)

IBM dedicates supercomputing power to coronavirus research

24 Mar 2020