If you still have a Facebook account, then you automatically have a Messenger account. Whether you realise it or not, Messenger is one of the most popular apps in the world. (I only use it to sell all my personal belongings on Marketplace, but it has other functions.) Here are the best features to activate for heightened privacy and convenience.
When you tap your profile picture in the top left corner, the settings menu comes up. You can use this to toggle dark mode on, for those late-night messaging sessions. Also in this menu is “Active Status,” which you can turn off so other people can’t see if you are online, or see the last time you were logged in.
Scroll down to “Privacy” and select “Message Delivery.” This lets you customise who can message you on the app — just your Facebook friends, anyone with your phone number, etc. You can then decide if those messages come straight to your inbox as chats or as easy-to-ignore message requests. Under the “Preferences” section, select “Phone Contacts” to control the data the app pulls from your address book.
Once you are in a chat, click on the other participant’s photo and scroll down to “Go to Secret Conversation.” This will pop up a new chat that offers end-to-end encryption and disappearing messages. If you just swipe up on a regular conversation, you can enable “Vanish Mode,” which will still make your messages disappear, though without the added encryption. Be aware though — Vanish Mode notifies all participants if someone screenshots a chat.