Meta introduces default end-to-end encryption for Messenger and Facebook
Meta is introducing default end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for chats and calls across Messenger and Facebook, the company revealed on Wednesday.
Rolling out E2EE for Messenger and Facebook
E2EE ensures that messages content is only visible to the person sending the message and the one receiving it – the messaging service can’t access it and, by proxy, neither can law enforcement and similar government entities.
End-to-end encrypted chats have been available in Messanger since 2016, but as a Secret Conversations feature that had to be turned on by the user. The company is now making private chats and calls across Messenger end-to-end encrypted by default.
They said this has taken years to deliver, as Messenger features had to be rebuilt from ground up, making sure to meet privacy as well as safety requirements.
“We’ve introduced new privacy, safety and control features along the way like delivery controls that let people choose who can message them, as well as app lock, alongside existing safety features like report, block and message requests,” said Loredana Crisan, Head of Messenger at Meta.
The company also introduced disappearing messages on Messenger that last 24 hours. This feature is only available in end-to-end encrypted chats, but users will be notified if someone screenshots a disappearing message and can also report inappropriate ones.
“Because there are over a billion Messenger users, not everyone will get default end-to-end encryption right away. It will take a number of months to complete the global roll-out. When your chats are upgraded, you will be prompted to set up a recovery method, such as a PIN, so you can restore your messages if you lose, change or add a device,” Crisan concluded.
The company is still testing E2EE in Instagram Direct Messages and will first introduce disappearing messages for direct conversations within the app in selected countries.
A default feature for other apps
WhatsApp, a messaging and video calling app acquired by Meta in 2014, introduced default E2EE in 2016.
Signal, an encrypted messaging service, went a step further and upgraded its E2EE protocol to protect its users from future encryption-breaking attacks that could be made possible by leveraging quantum computers.