Facebook experiments with optional end-to-end encryption for Messenger app

Another tech company has embraced the opt-in nature of encrypted user data.

Facebook is testing out a new “secret conversations” system that offers users bolstered privacy when they want it. While the feature is currently still in a testing phase, some users are already able to take advantage of it.

Secret conversations are optional, can only be used on one device, and are completely encrypted. To take advantage of the added security feature however, uses should keep in mind that certain features such as GIFs and videos won’t be covered.

Furthermore, users will have the option to set self-destruct timers on messages of a sensitive nature.

“We’ve heard from you that there are times when you want additional safeguards – perhaps when discussing private information like an illness or a health issue with trusted friends and family, or sending financial information to an accountant,” said the company in a blog post.

Facebook is hardly the only social platform to consider end-to-end encryption. It’s subsidiary, WhatsApp, launched end-to-end encryption across its entire service, which comprises 1 billion users.

Google’s recently introduced messaging app Allo also features an opt-in “incognito mode” allowing users to take advantage of the benefits of end-to-end encryption.

This seems to be a happy medium between privacy and the artificial intelligence. The prime dilemma in choosing to encrypt information is loosing access to many of the personalized AI features that come with so many social apps nowadays.

Opt-in encryption potentially holds the solution. By encrypting select pieces of information while leaving others open to data mining, artificial intelligence enabled devices learn from the information users are comfortable with making public and ignore information that users choose to encrypt.

Related reading: Google’s new Allo messaging app isn’t as secure as you think