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Messenger’s encrypted chats pick up user friendly features

Facebook Messenger’s end-to-end encrypted mode, Secret Conversations, is getting a substantial update today. The company is including several new features that would make the mode attractive to use and bring 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 they were fairly barebones, offering nothing but one on one messaging support. The feature picked up support for end-to-end encrypted group chats and calls in summer 2021, and today’s update enables almost everything you’ll want from the regular Messenger app. This includes things taken from granted like emoji reactions, typing indicators, gifs and stickers, forwarding, and directly replying to messages. There are also media-related features which include saving media and editing video or photos before sending. Messenger will also let you know when someone screenshots your conversation. Secret Conversations are meant to be secret after all, but no amount of encryption beats a simple png screenshot by the other party.

Facebook Messenger Secret Conversation with new screenshot notification.

End-to-end encrypted chats are, as the name implies, more secure than unencrypted chats and are used as a selling point for smaller messaging services including Signal and Telegram. Despite the company’s reputation around privacy, the other Meta-owned messaging service, WhatsApp, also has its app encrypted (albeit by default). With the company moving to merge both services, at least on the back-end, having Messenger’s Secret Conversations reach parity with WhatsApp’s default experience is a necessary step. “We want to make Messenger interoperable with WhatsApp, so that you could send messages back and forth again just like connecting email and different email accounts,” Meta’s Loredana Crisan said in 2021.

With this update, Messenger just got that much closer to being an app you can rely on for regular, secure conversations.

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