End-to-end encryption in Messenger is now available.
The optional feature, which was previously tested on group chats and calls, allows users to enable encryption in two ways: swipe upon an existing chat to enter a secret dialogue where messages automatically disappear when the window closes, or tap the lock icon when starting a new conversation, as reported by The Verge.
"Building safe and enjoyable interactive features take time and need our developers to innovate and overcome technological hurdles," Messenger product manager Timothy Buck said in a blog release. "With cybercrime and hacking on the rise, finding effective methods to communicate with friends and family through private and secure conversations is more crucial than ever."
In 2016, the chat app began testing end-to-end encryption, which assures that messages cannot be read by a third party whether in transit or on a server. Facebook said at the time that it already employed "protected communications channels," but in response to user comments, it launched one-to-one "private talks" that can only be viewed by the person with whom you're chatting, and only on one device.
While Meta-owned WhatsApp has enabled end-to-end encryption by default since 2016, it is rumored that Messenger and Instagram will not get the same treatment until 2023.
According to Buck, the opt-in security increase comes with a slew of additional capabilities, like screenshot notifications, GIFs and stickers, responses and answers, message forwarding, media storage, and video editing. There's also a certified logo to help chatters identify genuine encrypted accounts.
"We understand the significance of safety and privacy when talking with the individuals who matter the most to you," the blog stated. "As we continue to improve your encrypted discussions with friends and family, we hope these additions elevate your private messaging experience."