Facebook recently announced that it is working on a new feature called Secret Conversations which will offer End to End Encryption (E2EE) for chats on the Messenger platform.
End to End Encryption is the same security feature that has already been adopted by WhatsApp, the world’s most popular Instant messaging service that’s also owned by Facebook.
This feature ensures that message are only accessed by the sender and the intended recipient while preventing third parties, including regulators, the owners of the platform, and the internet providers, from going through the messages.
Secret Conversations will also have the option to set a timer to control the length of time each message you send remains visible within the conversation.
This hardly qualifies as a big deal for anyone already using secure messaging services like Telegram or to people familiar with ephemeral chat services like Snapchat.
However, for Zimbabwean internet conversations the activation of Secret Conversations is a big deal. Not only does it introduce a feature popularised by SnapChat which most people don’t use locally, but it also extends security to the two most popular internet services.
In the face of warnings of a clampdown on social media abuse by POTRAZ which have raised questions about how secure content and conversations can be, the fact that the most common platforms aren’t open to any external monitoring offers a sense of privacy.