As Snapchat moves further away from ephemeral messaging, Facebook has decided to embrace it. The social network is testing a new feature in its popular messaging app that will allow users to have encrypted conversations that can disappear at a moment’s notice at the behest of the user.
Dubbed “secret conversations,” the new feature, which was announced Friday, will permit users from including videos and GIFs like they can in traditional Messenger conversations. Instead, users can use set a timer to determine exactly how long a message is visible before it evaporates into the ether.
While Facebook asserts that its Messenger app already comes equipped with adequate security, it also notes that some users use Messenger for sensitive conversations about things like “an illness or a health issue with trusted friends and family, or sending financial information to an accountant," which may require additional security measures.
“We wanted to make Messenger your primary messaging platform, and while we currently were already using a lot of security to ensure that your messages are safe and confidential, we felt that we needed to go one more extra step with this new mode,” said David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products.
At the time of writing, secret conversations is available on a limited basis, but should become available to Messenger’s one billion users in the coming months.
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