How to send ‘secret’ Facebook messages that self-destruct

It’s like Mission: Impossible, but on your phone…

Dog reads Facebook
Paws for thought A dog reads is Facebook messages. Image Enis Charlet/AFP/Getty Image

There’s now a secret Facebook messages function that allows you to fire off missives that ‘self-destruct’, Mission: Impossible-style, after a designated period of time.

Anyone with the Facebook Messenger app will now be able to see the Secret Conversations feature which, like a combination of WhatsApp and Snapchat, lets you to send end-to-end encrypted texts to your pals that vanish.

Facebook Messenger unit head David Marcus said of the feature when it was announced in the summer: “My teenage daughter just started her first internship and needed her social security number, which is secure but I didn’t know how to send it to her with total peace of mind.

“We have so many identity theft issues [in the US], that I wouldn’t send it by email or want it to stay in a thread.”

Firing off these discreet chats is fairly straightforward, so here’s a quick guide to sending secret Facebook messages…

  1. You can only send the private messages through one device, so make sure the phone you want to use is linked to your Facebook account
  2. Open Facebook Messenger app on your selected device
  3. Hit the compose message button and, along with a list of contacts, the screen should have the word “Secret” on the top right
  4. Tap that button then select your contact from the list
  5. Write your message then select the stopwatch icon next to it to set the expiry time for the chat

And it’s as easy as that – congratulations, you’re basically now Tom Cruise.

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn