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Facebook Messenger Folds More Features Into Your Encrypted Chats

The Meta-owned chat app is bringing more standard features like custom emoji and link previews.

Facebook Messenger is bringing more features into encrypted chats while continuing to add extra security to existing threads as well. Announced Monday from CEO Mark Zuckerberg and in a blog post, encrypted chats will now include features that have already existed in Messenger, such as themes, custom emoji, group profile photos, link previews and seeing one's active status. The Android version of Messenger will also support chat bubbles. 

Facebook Messenger app encrypted chats

Meta's Messenger app is including more features in encrypted chats.

Meta

While the features themselves aren't new, the inclusion of them in encrypted chats should help Messenger appeal to more people as it continues to add end-to-end encryption to existing conversations. This is in service to a long-held goal to make conversations in the app encrypted by default.

Meta says that this change is taking place over the course of several months. People may receive an alert that a one-on-one conversation has been changed to include that additional level of protection. Group chats are not being converted right now, but people can create encrypted group chats from the Messenger app.

A Meta spokesperson clarified that encrypted messages will still support any device that the service is being used on -- whether it's mobile, tablet or desktop -- and won't be subject to device limits. By comparison, WhatsApp, which is also owned by Meta, currently supports encrypted chats across four devices in addition to one's phone.

It's been a long development road for Messenger app encryption, which required the Messenger team to rebuild certain features to support secure messaging. Back in 2019, Facebook announced a plan to integrate Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. While the three apps haven't merged, they do all support varying degrees of message encryption, stories, custom emoji and avatars. Meta says additional updates on the rollout for encrypted texting in the Messenger app are planned over the course of 2023.

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