How Do Facebook Messenger Secret Conversations Work? The New Privacy Feature Is Super Easy To Use

While most of us use Facebook Messenger to set up brunch dates via group chat, or send gifs of bunnies eating dandelions, occasionally we want to convey something a little more... er, private. Facebook rolled out a new encryption feature this week, and it's about time! So how do Facebook Messenger secret conversations work? Facebook is joining the likes of WhatsApp and Signal in the encrypted message game, doing their part to keep your precious messages safe from hackers, government surveillance, or a nosy friend. Like in Snapchat, you can also set expiration times for your messages, and the message will self-destruct anywhere from five seconds to a day after being viewed. Facebook explains, "secret conversation in Messenger is encrypted end-to-end, which means the messages are intended just for you and the other person—not anyone else, including us." With end-to-end encryption your scrambled your data will be safe from potential eavesdroppers, so put down that latte, and start updating your Facebook app.

Before you try to start a 20 person group chat, there are a few minor limitations to secret conversations. The new encryption feature only supports one-to-one messaging, so just you and the intended recipient can see the message. A secret conversation will also be started in a separate window, so it will not appear as part of any chat thread you were previously participating in. Secret message is live for all Android and iOS users, however encrypted conversations will only work on one device at a time.

The secret conversation supports text, pictures and stickers, however gifs and videos are a no-go (sorry dandelion bunny). And while Facebook cannot read your private messages, you can still report a secret message that violates Facebook's community guidelines for review.

Once you have updated your app, start a secret conversation by going to your Messenger home screen. Tap on the person icon (it will be on the bottom far left of the screen if you are using an iPhone), and scroll down until you see the "Secret Conversations" option. Select it, and activate the feature on your device.

Return to your Messenger home screen, and tap on the paper and pen icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen, next to search. Tap the "secret" option in the upper right hand corner, and elect the recipient of your first hush hush message. The message bubbles and text will turn from the normal blue to black.

The recipient will need to agree to use the secret conversations feature before viewing your message, so it may take a few minutes to get a private convo flowing. To set your messages to self-destruct after they have been viewed, tap the clock icon to the right of the text box, and select a time.

Now go forth and enjoy your privacy! Just remember, the recipient can still take a screenshot of the encrypted message — so, you know, it's a good idea to keep things PG-13 to "R" rated.

Images: pexels, giphy, Facebook/screenshots