Table of contents
- What is Facebook (FB) Messenger?
- Is Facebook Messenger secure and private?
- What does Facebook Messenger have access to?
- Does Facebook Messenger have end-to-end encryption?
- Does Facebook read your private messages?
- Can anyone see your messages on Facebook Messenger?
- Should you download Facebook Messenger?
What is Facebook (FB) Messenger?
Facebook Messenger is a free, Meta-owned platform for communicating with friends and family. It is a web-based platform and can be downloaded as an app on smartphones, including iPhones and Android devices. The web version can also be accessed through your browser. Meta supports text, voice, video, and group chats. It allows you to share media, including pictures and videos.
In the past, Messenger was incorporated into the Facebook app. However, it became a separate app in 2016. Although Messenger is downloaded separately, you can use your Facebook account information to set up your Messenger profile.
A word of caution
Is sign in with Google safe? While it might be convenient, you can unknowingly end up agreeing to let the website have more data than you intended, such as your contact list. Always read the permissions page carefully.
Is Facebook Messenger secure and private?
Facebook Messenger is secure and private for those with end-to-end encryption enabled, either by turning on Secret Conversations or by default. Meta started rolling out default encryption for Messenger on December 6, 2023. However, this was a gradual rollout, so not all Messenger users’ conversations were immediately protected.
For a long time (beginning in 2016), Facebook Messenger conversations were only secure and private if you manually enabled Messenger’s Secret Messages feature. So, if you didn’t know about it or didn’t enable it, you risked compromising your privacy. Therefore, Messenger’s security and privacy were conditional, and hackers could potentially see your messages.
Did you know?
Unlike Messenger, WhatsApp conversations are end-to-end encrypted by default, which means your messages are secure and private.
What does Facebook Messenger have access to?
Facebook has access to your activity and the information you provide across its platforms, including:
- Your audio content
- Your camera content
- The messages you send and receive (except for those in encrypted chats)
- The time, frequency, and duration of your activities on the platform
- Metadata about your content and messages
- Information about your contacts, including their names, email addresses, or phone numbers
- The device and software you're using
- What you're doing on your device while the app is opened
- Identifiers that tell your device apart from other users' devices
- Device signals
- Information you've shared with Messenger through your device settings, like your GPS location, camera access, photos, and similar metadata
- Information about the network you use to connect your connection, like your IP address.
- Information about Meta’s performance on your device
- The websites that you visit
- Cookie data
- The apps you use
- The games you play
- The purchases and transactions you make off of our Products using non-Meta checkout experiences
- Your demographics
- The ads you see and how you interact with them
- How you use Facebook’s partners' products and services, whether online or in person
That’s a lot of data, so what can you do about it?
Clario AntiSpy’s Safe browsing feature helps protect your privacy and prevents spying threats on your Mac or Windows device.
The Safe browsing tool includes three essential features that protect your laptop from being traced, monitored, or tapped:
- An Ad Blocker to stop online advertisements from reaching your browser.
- A Tracking Blocker to prevent advertisers and other data collectors from tracking your online behavior and accessing your personal data.
- Phishing Protection to protect you from malicious and phishing websites.
On Mac devices, Safe browsing is available as a Chrome and Safari extension. On Windows devices, it works as a built-in tool. No matter what device you own, Clario AntiSpy’s Safe browsing tool is easy to use. Here’s how to use it:
- Download Clario AntiSpy, get a subscription, and set up an account.
- Click Safe browsing in the sidebar and hit the Install button. This will take you to the Chrome web store.
3. Click Add to Chrome > Continue to Install > Add extension.
Does Facebook Messenger have end-to-end encryption?
In December 2023, Meta rolled out default end-to-end encryption for personal chats and calls on Facebook Messenger. This makes the messaging app safer and more secure. Since 2016, Messenger users’ conversations have only been encrypted when the Secret Conversations feature was enabled to protect their chats. Now, they are protected automatically.
Does Facebook read your private messages?
Technically, Facebook can’t read your private messages thanks to encryption. However, in a Vox interview, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook scans conversations to ensure users follow the rules.
Facebook also revealed to Bloomberg that it analyzes Messenger conversations to prevent abuse. Moderators read messages flagged for violating community standards and then blocked or taken down as necessary.
While it’s good that Facebook wants to ensure its community guidelines aren’t violated, wrongly flagged messages can also be moderated. This means that innocent users can have their privacy compromised unnecessarily.
Can anyone see your messages on Facebook Messenger?
Technically, no one can see your messages on Facebook Messenger except for the person you are chatting with. However, this doesn’t mean you’re completely safe. The recipient can screenshot or screen record the messages and share the contents of your conversations with others, which means they’d no longer be secure.
Additionally, your friends and family members can read your conversations if they have access to the device you use Messenger on or your Messenger login credentials. So, if you’ve ever wondered if someone can spy on your Messenger, they can.
But what about other messaging apps? Is Telegram safe? Not entirely, as it doesn’t offer encryption by default.
Should you download Facebook Messenger?
You can download Messenger if you want to. However, keep in mind that even though your messages are encrypted, Meta may spy on your chats for one reason or another. The people you chat with can screenshot or screen record your conversations and distribute those images or videos, so be careful what you share with them. You’d also have to ensure that no one has access to the devices you use to access Facebook Messenger and that you don’t share your password with anyone.
Default encryption is being rolled out to Messenger users gradually, so it may take some time for your chats to be protected.
As of December 2023, Facebook Messenger is more private than it used to be. Facebook Messenger is end-to-end encrypted by default, so your messages and conversations are protected and secure. Unfortunately, your chats can be compromised in other ways, like when someone reports your messages. Moreover, you might not have access to default encryption just yet, so keep that in mind when deciding whether to use Messenger.
Ensure you use Clario AntiSpy’s Safe browsing feature to use Messenger on your computer. Even if you decide against using Messenger, the Safe browsing feature still comes in handy for blocking ads, preventing tracking, and protecting your personal information.