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Facebook Messenger to introduce 'secret chats' and become a retail hub, according to report

It isn’t exactly clear what the exactly makes the chats, hidden in the code of the app, so secret

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 30 March 2016 11:12 BST
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Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks about Messenger at the F8 conference in 2015
Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks about Messenger at the F8 conference in 2015 (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Facebook is set to introduce “secret chats” to Messenger, according to a new report.

The company has buried a reference to the new feature in the code of its iPhone app, according to a report from The Information.

The report also claims that Facebook is looking to make its Messenger app into a retail hub, which will allow people to buy and sell things through the app.

It isn’t clear exactly what those secret chats will be. But within Facebook Messenger competitor Telegram, the same phrase is used to refer to special chats that are fully encrypted and have measures to stop them being viewed elsewhere.

“Telegram's special secret chats use end-to-end encryption, leave no trace on our servers, support self-destructing messages and don't allow forwarding,” Telegram’s website explains. “On top of this, secret chats are not part of the Telegram cloud and can only be accessed on their devices of origin.”

It also isn’t clear how exactly Facebook plans to become a retail hub will work. But it could link with the site’s plan to create a “bot store” — robots that can talk to you and allow you to buy things — or it might mean the site moving forward with plans to become a payment processor.

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