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Just a few weeks ago, Facebook-owned WhatsApp rolled out end-to-end encryption by default for its users. Now Facebook’s other big messaging app, Messenger, looks set for an upgrade that could appeal to privacy-minded users.

The Twitter account @iOSAppChanges today posted screenshots of the “disappearing messages” feature being used in the Messenger app for iOS. In the version of the app shown in the images, it’s possible for users to adjust how long their messages in chats with other users will remain visible.

“You turned on disappearing messages. New messages will disappear from this conversation 15 minutes after being sent,” Messenger says in the chat window, presumably after the option was enabled.

The move is not entirely surprising. Part of the appeal of messaging app Telegram, which has more than 100 million monthly active users, is its ability to have messages disappear. (The same goes for Snapchat.) But there’s also an option to have a “secret chat” with a given user that is restricted to a single device and end-to-end encrypted. First Facebook made encryption default in all WhatsApp chats, and now it seems that the disappearing message feature is coming to Messenger, at least on iOS. (Facebook was even testing the feature in France a few months ago.)

Secret chat may also become possible soon in that app. It became available as a “hidden feature” of version 67.0 of Messenger for iOS, which Facebook released on April 21, according to a Pastebin page that the @iOSAppChanges Twitter account linked to. Indeed, The Information reported in March that code for Messenger includes references to “secret conversations” — although it still does not seem to be available to regular users of the app.


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