Facebook Messenger claims to be a secure platform for private communications, but the truth is that regular conversations conducted through the app are not end-to-end encrypted, which puts your sensitive information at considerable risk.
End-to-end encryption ensures that only you and the person you're communicating with can read or listen to what is sent, and nobody in between, not even Meta/Facebook, can gain access to this content.
Unfortunately, unlike WhatsApp, end-to-end encryption is not enabled by default, meaning the onus is on you to make sure you turn it on so that third parties cannot eavesdrop on your communications.
On the plus side, enabling it is not difficult once you know how, but it can only be turned on for individual contacts – it is not a global setting. To start an encrypted chat with someone requires entering into a "Secret conversation." The following steps show you how it's done.
- Open the Messenger app, and tap the profile icon of the contact that you want to chat with using end-to-end encryption.
- At the top of the conversation window, tap their profile icon again.
- Under "More Actions," tap Go to secret conversation.
You will now be in a conversation window that implements end-to-end encryption. From here, you can also set your messages to disappear from the conversation thread completely (on both your device and the device of the person you're chatting with).
To do so, tap the clock banner at the top of the conversation window. Alternatively, tap the top-left profile of the person you'll be chatting with, then select Disappearing messages and choose an expiration time.