Facebook Messenger has been updated to offer improved functionality in its Secret Conversations feature, which offers users end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) communication. The Meta-owned service will now inform users of screenshots taken inside Secret Conversations, which now support content in regular conversations such as message reactions, GIFs, and stickers. Users will also be able to swipe to reply to messages in Secret Conversations and forward messages to other conversations. Users can also make end-to-end encrypted group chats and calls in Messenger, according to the company.
The company announced on Thursday that Messenger’s Secret Conversations feature has been updated with the ability to alert the sender when a recipient takes a screenshot of a conversation. The feature was previously offered in Vanish mode and will roll out to all Secret Conversations where disappearing messages have been enabled, according to the company. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg also shared a post with his wife Priscilla Chen, showing the screenshot detection feature, along with other features coming to the messaging service.
The Meta-owned service appears to be updating its Secret Conversations feature with additional functionality ahead of the company’s plans to switch on end-to-end encryption by default for all users in the future. Messenger had planned to turn on E2EE by default in 2022, but the company announced a few months ago that it was delayed to 2023. While security and privacy experts have argued in favour of strong end-to-end encryption, Meta has been facing pushback from the UK government, children’s advocacy groups, and law enforcement agencies such as GCHQ and Interpol. Facebook Messenger uses the widely used Signal Protocol for encryption, which is also used on WhatsApp Messenger.
As previously mentioned, Secret Conversations on Messenger have been missing features found in regular, non E2EE chats for years. The company is bringing much of the missing functionality to the encrypted mode. Users can now send GIFs and stickers in end-to-end encrypted chats, and long press on messages to react with emoji. Messages can now be long-pressed or swiped to reply with a copy of the original message, while users in Secret Conversations will also be able to see when others are typing.
Messenger has also added the ability to forward messages in Secret Conversations while displaying badges in chats with verified accounts. Both of these features were previously available outside the secure chat feature. Users will also be able to save videos and images sent in Secret Conversations by long pressing on the content. Meanwhile, videos and images shared from the gallery or camera roll can now be edited before they are shared to Secret Conversations, according to the company.