Facebook tests 'secret message' service



I don't use Facebook so this was a new one on me.

Story Source - Facebook tests 'secret message' service

Private messages that can disappear are being trialled by Facebook as it experiments with a new option for those using its Messenger app.

They become hidden after a certain period of time chosen by the author, the firm said.

It is part of a new "secret message" service having a limited trial, Facebook announced.

Senders must choose one device to use it on, as messages sent this way are stored on the device itself.

Those flagged to "disappear" will be deleted from the device as well.

"Starting a secret conversation with someone is optional," it said.

"Secret conversations can only be read on one device and we recognise that experience may not be right for everyone."

Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Facebook shared some screenshot examples of how the new service looks
Facebook listed health and financial issues as examples of messages that people may wish to keep more private - while others have mentioned love affairs.

The idea is being trialled on a "limited basis", Facebook said, but added that it would be more widely available over the summer.

Video and GIFs cannot be shared secretly at the moment.

The service will also have extra features for reporting abuse - and once this is introduced, there will be a delay in the deletion of messages to enable flagging.

"Facebook will never have access to plain text messages unless one participant in a secret conversation voluntarily reports the conversation," it explained in a technical document.

Tech spec
The service is built on the Signal protocol by Open Whisper Systems, which is widely used by messaging apps, said cybersecurity expert Professor Alan Woodward from Surrey University.

"Signal is well tested and those who developed it are well regarded in the cryptography community," he said.

"But the problem with something effectively becoming an open standard in this way is that if ever a problem were found it could have widespread impact."

Prof Woodward added that the technical report released by Facebook was "not as complete as many would like" in terms of assessing the service's security.

"If I were to choose any messaging system I would look for it to be based on Signal at present.

"However, I'd like to know more about exactly how it is implemented, or at least know that those who can analyse such systems have scrutinised the code."

I could see some uses for something like this like communicating private data such as your banking details, plotting a terrorist attack and such things

So what are your feelings on this as on the news today it mentioned that nothing should be able to crack this including law enforcement agencies.


Jul 4, 2016
My mom and my conversations aren't important.

"Me: I dunno if it sent, your move"

"My mom: I'm going to go watch tv."


Jul 4, 2016
When my son and I pass sensitive info like logging in details etc only 1 part of it goes via Messenger the other half goes text message so the 2 parts are never together.


That is about the best way of doing it these days as you just never know who is lurking around just waiting to grab personal information.


Always be Kind
Jul 4, 2016
So are you saying the message disappears FOREVER? Like.. even you can't retrieve it?

I don't really like that. I have actually gone back to some of my messages from 5 years ago because I purposely archived them as they had information I knew someday I would need and I would need it to show that it was in FB. Personal stuff.

I also only send one piece of info in FB and the other via text or email when sending log on info. Probably still not the best thing in the world to do.
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