Keeping up with the privacy fad sparked by Edward Snowden, Facebook Messenger, the popular social network’s equally popular messaging app, has enabled end-to-end encryption for “secret conversations.”
Messenger continues its bid to become (or remain) the number one messaging app in the world, and that includes meeting increasing user demand for privacy and security with online conversations. Starting July 8th, Messenger debuted a “secret conversations” feature for a select number of users, removing all other parties expect the two participants from having access to the conversation, including Facebook itself and law enforcement.
David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products, believes this new mode will enhance message confidentiality.
“We wanted to make Messenger your primary messaging platform, and while we currently were already using a lot of security to ensure that your messages are safe and confidential, we felt that we needed to go one more extra step with this new mode.”
Messenger the latest app to join the great encryption rush
Recently, interest in, and demand for, encrypted messaging apps has boomed. Popular messaging app WhatsApp turned on encryption for all messages by default earlier this year, which has already caused stress in Brazil, with authorities frustrated at their lack of access to encrypted conversations through the app. Open Whisper Systems flagship app Signal, an encrypted messaging app with SMS integration, has become a favorite among protesters of the Republican National Convention in Ohio.
Facebook is not without its own security and privacy sins
Hardly world-renowned as a champion of user privacy, Facebook collects enough personal information on users to satisfy an Orwellian wet dream. The social network received a demand by the Belgian Privacy Commission to stop tracking users who were logged out as well as non-users who simply visited the network’s website, though that ruling was successfully appealed and overturned. Recently, Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems sued Facebook over data transfers from the EU to the US.