Facebook Messenger Turning Into Snapchat With Self-Destroying Message Feature

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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 Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.