Can Your School Read Your Private Messages on Microsoft Teams?

Thanks to its no-nonsense attitude and prudish demeanor, most strict workplaces, and educational institutions have opted to make Microsoft Teams their video conferencing tool of choice. Additionally, the Microsoft-owned software has a rather complicated user-interface, full of secret layers and trapdoors, all of which have been designed to empower the admins of the Microsoft Teams accounts.

The new learn-from-home system has its fair share of pros, of course, but it’s hardly as interactive as the real thing. Students often tend to drift sideways during these video classes, engage in private chats with their friends. If you happen to be one of the rebellious students, this piece and topic in question might come in really handy.

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How to chat privately on Microsoft Teams?

Before we tackle the real issue at hand, let’s take a look at how Microsoft Teams enables private chats. To send a private message in the app, first, log in to your Microsoft Teams account and go to the ‘Chat’ tab on your left-hand side. Now, click on the new conversation button at the top of the screen.

After you’ve clicked the ‘New conversation button,’ all you have to do is select the name of the contact you want to chat with and start sending messages right away.

You can also exchange all sorts of files with the person you’re chatting with.

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Can your school read your private messages?

Microsoft Teams — just like all other leading video conferencing tools out there — gives complete control to the account administrator. But before going straight into it, it’s important to learn a little about the hierarchy inside Microsoft Teams.

In the case of a school, the name of the ‘Organization’ would be the school name and the different standards would be seen as Teams. These classes would have different channels, which could be designated to different teachers.

For obvious reasons, students cannot interact or interact freely in front of their teachers. So, they often use the private chatting option, hoping no one would be able to see their shenanigans. In all honesty, the teachers in different classes aren’t likely to have permission to see the private chats of the students. However, the head of the institution — the principal for example — is likely to have access to all the messages and files you exchange with your friends. As the head of the Teams Organization, they’ll reserve the right to do what they wish with the information they get from your messages.

So, before typing away all your sorrows, we’d recommend having a long, hard discussion with yourself and think whether the messages you’re sending would have any repercussions.

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What to do about your old messages?

Well, now that you know that your school can actually read all the messages you exchanged with your friends, you could be tempted to overthink the situation. Before your mind goes into overdrive, we’d like to assure you that the chances of your school reading your private messages are rather small. Given the huge number of students a school tends to admit, they aren’t likely to have the time to go through each little inbox.

Still, if you’re feeling a little paranoid, you could always delete the messages you sent. Simply hover over to select a message and reveal the options. Then click on the ellipsis to go to more options.

Finally, hit ‘Delete’ to get rid of the message you sent for good.

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 How to protect yourself from “spying”?

Yes, your school probably won’t go through the trouble of going through the thousands of texts you send, but it’s still not the best idea to continue using the Chat option on Microsoft Teams. The next time your friend hits you up during a class on Teams, tell them that all their messages can be easily read by the account owner. We’d recommend using a separate, secure messaging application like WhatsApp or Telegram.


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A mediocre engineer hoping to do something extraordinary with his pen (well, keyboard). Loves Pink Floyd, lives football, and is always up for a cup of Americano.