You may have seen this week that Yahoo, owner of one of the world’s most popular email clients, has been accused of allegedly allowing U.S. intelligence officials to monitor the contents of all user email traffic. This is wrong, and Yahoo is taking considerable heat for it. Even if you’ve done nothing wrong, you shouldn’t be subjected to this type of undisclosed surveillance.
Facebook owns popular messaging app WhatsApp, which has had end-to-end encryption of messages as a standard feature since earlier this year. Clearly Facebook understands that the market wants this type of solution. Encryption is now available for Facebook Messenger, and users (you and your teens) should turn it on.
There’s one catch, though. You can’t have encryption always turned on for Facebook Messenger. You have to turn it on each time you start a conversation.
To utilize the feature, when you hit the button to compose a new message, look at the top right corner of the screen. You will see a blue button labeled “SECRET”. Tap on that and you will see the screen at right. The conversation will be fully encrypted once you hit send.
As an added bonus, Facebook has also added the ability to make the message disappear from the recipient’s phone a set number of seconds after it is opened. To set the time, tap on the clock at bottom right (green arrow). There is no word yet as to whether a copy of the message will be retained on Facebook servers or in the bowels of your phone.
Note: If a message that you’ve received is set to disappear, and it is abusive in nature, you can still report it.
We recommend making sure you have the latest update of Facebook Messenger installed, and using encryption on all of your messages starting today. It literally takes one extra tap. You aren’t just protecting your conversations from the government’s prying eyes, but from hackers as well.
If you are worried that your teen or tween is at risk, we can help. The ThirdParent initial audit is now FREE (previously a $49 value). Ongoing monitoring is $15 per month and you can cancel at any time. Click here to sign up today!
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