Are Your DMs Protected?

“Just DM me,” the post said. I had no clue what the person meant. Sometimes, it will state “PM.” What’s it mean? Direct Message or Personal Message. The person is asking for you to send a message directly either through your phone or internet on Messenger.

But is it really a “personal” message? Who else has access to your messages? Did you know Facebook has ownership of Messenger? Over a billion users are on it. Perhaps you aren’t concerned. The messages you share aren’t that personal or anything confidential. But what if they were? Messenger claims to have a “secret conversations” option for things you wouldn’t want made public. How do you know if they are really secret?

Secret Conversations?

“A secret conversation in Messenger is end-to-end encrypted and intended just for you and the person you’re talking to,” Facebook says, according to a Forbes magazine article. However, secret conversations are only available in the Messenger app on iOS and Android, so they won’t appear on Facebook chat or messenger.com. So, that implies the conversations, memes, videos, etc. you share through Facebook Messenger on your computer are not “secret” and risk being accessed by more than “just you and the person you’re talking to.” Facebook itself warned in 2017 when the “secret conversations” were introduced that messages on its main platform were not secure.

Although Facebook updated its security features in July 2020 with Messenger with an ‘added lock,’ Forbes states it’s akin to adding another lock on a bank but leaving the vault open. It can be easily broken, and your information shared. In other words, it is not securely encrypted.

Some of your most treasured information may be shared in what you thought was a private or direct message. Only you and the party you messaged. The WhatsApp application ensures encryption – but it is also owned by Facebook. Enough said.

Time to Delete?

With much of the hacking going on in cyberspace, perhaps it’s time to delete some of your messages. Facebook has them all, you know. They could be easily accessed by anyone who would want to get to them.

To delete a message, hover over the message you want to delete. You will see the three dots appear in a dialog box. Click on the dots and select remove. (This does not remove it from the other person’s messenger box).

To delete an entire conversation, in Messenger, click on the person’s name. This will open another dialog box with options. Scroll to the bottom to “Delete Conversation” and select. Note that once this is deleted, it cannot be undone.

Download Conversations?

You may choose instead to download your conversations. You do this through Facebook SETTINGS. Click on the down arrow on the top menu by your name. Select Settings & Privacy, and then Settings again. On the next screen, select “Your Facebook Information.”

Select “Download Your Information,” and then click on VIEW. Scroll down to find “MESSAGES” in the list.

It is your choice whether to select ALL TIME, or a range of time for messages to be copied.

Alternatives to Messenger?

Perhaps you desire something much more secure. You want messages to be private. So what’s the alternative? Signal or Telegram are two message platforms that are encrypted and thereby much more secure, according to Forbes.

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