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How to Send Self-Destructing Messages in Facebook Messenger

Have you ever used disappearing ink to text your friends so you don’t have to worry about your secret getting out? This is what Facebook Messenger self-destruct messages do with texts, photos or videos you send from your device.

Also known as ephemeral messages, these messages ensure that any content you submit is removed within minutes or seconds of being used. This happens on both devices as well as system servers without saving lengthy call recordings.

Multiple technologies such as encryption and strong password walls are used together to send, encode, receive, and destroy text, photos or videos and other attachments.

Self-destructive messages are attractive and popular, especially among the younger generation, but adults use them for their personal lives. Other positive use cases include exposing or discussing sensitive issues such as disciplinary or criminal matters.

You can also use them to make sure they don’t read messages that they shouldn’t read, or in emotionally tense moments, such as marital fights, when it’s easy to send harsh texts that could be used against you.

However, nothing prevents the recipient from taking a screenshot or an external snapshot of your screen while viewing the message, so there is no guarantee that the message was not recorded, but you are getting closer to 100 percent privacy.

How self-destructing messages work in Facebook Messenger

The Facebook Messenger app has a secret conversations feature that allows you to send private messages to one person while protecting your privacy with special encryption.

Encryption is designed to protect the message so that only you and your recipient can view or play it – not even Facebook can access it. You can also add a timer or expiration date to the message so that it can self-destruct for the time you specify after the recipient sees it.

All secret conversations are displayed with a padlock next to the contact’s profile icon in the message list. Speech bubbles are black, not the usual blue for regular Facebook chats, and you can start them in a new or existing chat.

However, if the person is not your Facebook or Facebook friend does not think you know the contact, your secret message will be sent in their message requests or will appear as spam in the Filtered Messages section. Messages are not deleted, but stored in a hidden mailbox.

Set up self-destructing messages in Messenger

Secret conversations can only be created in the Messenger app for Android and iOS, so you won’t find them on messenger.com or Facebook chat. They are also not available in the Facebook Messenger Lite app.

Additionally, you can only access conversations on the devices you create them on. For example, you cannot start a secret chat on your iPhone and then continue the chat on your iPad.

However, you can add another device to send the message, but you will not see previous messages on it. The other person will be notified of this, but all devices will only show new messages in existing conversations.

The process for creating secret conversations is slightly different depending on whether you have an Android or iOS device. We’ll go over the instructions for each separately.


Make sure you have installed the latest version of the Facebook Messenger app on your phone or tablet before sending a secret conversation. If you don’t see the disappearing conversations option, download the latest version from the Google Play Store.

Open Messenger to go to chats

Tap the pencil icon in the upper right corner of the screen

Tap the padlock

Select the person you want to send a message to

You can click on the timer icon in the text box that appears and set a time or expiration date (for example, 5 seconds, 10 seconds) during which the message will disappear after the recipient uses it

Your secret conversation will be blurry and a message (in red) will appear at the bottom showing the expiration date (in seconds)

iOS (iPhone or iPad)

Open the Messenger app to go to chats

Tap the pencil icon in the upper right corner of the screen

Click “Secret”

Select the person you want to send a message to

If you want to set the message to expire, tap the timer icon and set the timer to clear messages

Your secret conversation will be blurry and a message (in red) will appear at the bottom showing the expiration date (in seconds)

Check secret conversations on Facebook Messenger

You can check all encrypted secret conversations by comparing their device keys. Both you and the recipient of the message will receive the device keys so you can compare them and see if they match.

Open a secret conversation and tap the contact’s name

Press your keys

Compare the device key with your contact’s name to make sure they match.


How to delete Secret Chat


Open the Messenger app and tap your profile picture in the upper right corner. Scroll down and tap Secret Conversations.

Then click Delete All Secret Conversations

Click “Remove”


Open Messenger, then tap Chats, and then tap your profile picture in the upper left corner.

Scroll down and tap Secret Conversations. Click Delete All Secret Conversations and click Delete.

How to delete a single secret chat

If you want to delete one conversation, tap on the contact’s name. The main chat screen will appear. Click on the name again (just below the words “Secret Conversation”)

Note. You can only delete secret conversations from your device, not from the recipient’s device.

The downside of secret Facebook conversations is that they are only for one-on-one conversations, not groups. It also cannot be used to send payments.

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