Facebook Messenger’s ‘Secret Conversations’ allow end-to-end encryption, but the feature is opt-in. Here’s how to turn it on and use it.

End-to-end encryption means that your conversations are encrypted from one device to another so the conversation can’t be accessed by anyone other than the sender and the intended receiver. Facebook’s new encryption, appropriately, is called Secret Conversation.

It’s worth it, to prevent criminals, creeps and spies from reading your messages. Even Facebook can’t read them, so your privacy is safe if you’re worried about Facebook turning your messages over to the authorities.

How to set up end-to-end encryption

Setting up the Secret Conversation option is simple. There are two ways to do it.

To enable end-to-end encryption in a conversation:

  1. Go into a Messenger conversation
  2. Tap the circle with an “I” in it on the upper left side of the screen
  3. Select Secret Conversation from the Settings menu and a popup will ask you, “Turn on Secret Conversations?”
  4. Select Turn On

You can also start a Secret Conversation from the home screen:

  1. Tap the plus symbol.
  2. Tap the lock icon.
  3. Select the person you want to message.

Now this conversation is protected by end-to-end encryption. You will need to turn on this option for every conversation or else you won’t get the encryption protection.

The downsides of secret conversations

A word of warning, by turning on Secret Conversations, you can only communicate in this conversation thread using the device you used to turn on the encryption option. To talk to the same person using a different device you will need to start a new Secret Conversation.

Also, this encryption option doesn’t work for everything. While it does work for messages, pictures and stickers, it doesn’t support group GIFs, videos, messages, voice and video calling or payments.

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