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Facebook Messenger Turning Into Snapchat With Self-Destroying Message Feature

This message will self-destruct in five seconds.

Like all the various social media platforms out there, our favorite chat platforms are trying to figure out what makes their competitors popular and emulate those features to an extent. While Snapchat recently introduced “Memories,” a way of saving snaps and stories, Facebook Messenger will not be outdone and is testing self-destroying messages with a timer just like Snapchat.

Whether or not anyone wants that when they can already do that on Snapchat remains to be seen, but Facebook’s ubiquity—1.65 billion people on Facebook and about half of U.S. smartphone owners using Messenger—could definitely help introduce the gimmick to people who haven’t used Snapchat before. Facebook, of course, doesn’t mention Snapchat as inspiration and instead wants to put the new “Secret Conversations” feature forward as a security feature.

In an announcement on Facebook, David Marcus, the head of Messenger, wrote, “To be clear, your existing ‘regular’ messages and calls on Messenger already benefit from strong security systems as Messenger uses secure communications channels—just like banking services—all around. But we’re rolling out this additional capability as an option for the most sensitive conversations you might need to have.” Secret Conversations will keep your messages extra secure not only by disappearing after their timer runs out, but by using end-to-end encryption to avoid anyone reading your messages aside from their intended recipient.

The new feature is only an option, Marcus mentions, because some of the capabilities of standard Facebook Messenger are incompatible with end-to-end encryption, so it can’t be the norm. The feature is still in the testing phase, with Facebook hoping to get feedback and smooth out any bugs before they go for a wider rollout. We look forward to the inevitable future where every tech company has one app with all the features of every currently popular app.

(via TNW, featured image via Nelvana)

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Dan is a video game modding hobbyist and secret ninja who lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa Brown, and his dog, Liz Lemon, both of whom are the best.