Facebook Messenger’s end-to-end encrypted mode, Secret Conversations, receives a substantial update today. The company includes several new features that would make the mode attractive to use and put it on par with regular messages, including typing indicators in chats, reactions, and GIF support.
Secret Conversations debuted a few years ago on Messenger, but it was pretty straightforward, just offering one-on-one messaging support. The feature supported end-to-end encrypted group chats and calls in summer 2021, and today’s update enables almost everything you want from the regular Messenger app. This includes emoji reactions, typing indicators, GIFs and stickers, forwarding, and the ability to directly reply to messages. There are also media-related features which include the ability to save media and edit videos or photos before sending them. Messenger will also notify you when someone captures your conversation. Secret Conversations are supposed to be secret after all, but no amount of encryption thwarts a simple PNG screenshot by the other party.
End-to-end encrypted chats are, as the name suggests, more secure than unencrypted chats and are used as a selling point for smaller messaging services including Signal and Telegram. Meta’s other messaging service, WhatsApp, also has its app encrypted (albeit by default). As the company prepares to merge the two services, at least on the back-end, bringing Messenger’s secret conversations to parity with the default WhatsApp experience is a necessary step. “We want to make Messenger interoperable with WhatsApp, so you can send messages back and forth, as well as connect emails and different email accounts,” Meta’s Loredana Crisan said in 2021.
With this update, Messenger is one step closer to being an app you can rely on for regular, secure conversations.