Secret Conversation is an opt-in feature that lets users encrypt their messages so only the people involved in the chat – not Facebook, law enforcement, or intelligence agencies – can see the conversation. The fact it is not enabled by default, however, has been criticized by privacy campaigners.

Both you and the other person in the secret conversation have a device key that you can use to verify the messages are end-to-end encrypted and you can also set a timer to have your messages disappear from the conversation.

To start an encrypted chat with someone requires entering into a “Secret conversation.” The following steps show you how it’s done.

  1. Open the Messenger app, and tap the profile icon of the contact that you want to chat with using end-to-end encryption.
  1. At the top of the conversation window, tap their profile icon again.
  1. Under “More Actions,” tap Go to the 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).

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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.

You can delete all secret conversations on your device at once. Keep in mind that deleting a message or conversation from your device won’t delete it from your friend’s device. You can’t delete sent or received messages from someone else’s device.

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To delete all secret conversations from your device:

iPhone or iPad:

  1. From Home, tap your profile picture in the top left.
  2. Scroll down and tap Secret Conversations.
  3. Tap Delete Secret Conversations.
  4. Tap Delete.

Android:

  1. Form Home, tap your profile picture in the top right.
  2. Scroll down and tap Secret Conversations.
  3. Tap Delete All Secret Conversations.
  4. Tap Delete.