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Facebook Messenger will soon have secret, encrypted conversations

Facebook is testing end-to-end encryption for messages that also have the ability to self-destruct after a set length of time. Now you see it, now you don't.

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Can you keep a secret? Facebook thinks it can. The company shared its plans for completely securing conversations that you have in its Facebook Messenger app.

Called "Secret Conversations," the optional feature -- which isn't available yet -- is ideal for safely sharing personal information, say like your credit card number or passport details. (Of course, Facebook isn't advocating any uses racier than that.) If you're in a regular Messenger chat, you can tap your contact's name to switch into a private thread.

The big deal here is that Secret Conversations uses end-to-end encryption that makes a message thread visible only to you and the sender, each on a single device. Currently, you can read any Facebook Messenger conversation on any Facebook Messenger app that you're logged into.

The experimental feature will also include an optional time-out period, so messages of a sensitive nature would disappear from view after a certain time, say 30 minutes. Secret Conversations is pretty bare for now; you can type all the words you like, but it doesn't yet support GIFs, videos and payments. Facebook plans to open up its limited testing to a larger beta group this summer to gather feedback.