Meta Launches Default End-to-End Encryption for One-on-One Messenger Conversations, Fulfilling Long-Standing Promise
Meta is now delivering on a long-standing promise by enabling end-to-end encryption for one-on-one conversations and calls on Messenger. The business states that when end-to-end encryption is enabled, the only people who can view the contents of a message sent through Messenger are you and the recipient.
Messenger’s encrypted chat functionality was initially made available as an opt-in option in 2016. However, following a protracted legal dispute, end-to-end encrypted messages and calls for two-person discussions will now be considered the norm.
“This has taken years to deliver because we’ve taken our time to get this right,” Loredana Crisan, VP of Messenger, said in a statement shared with The Verge. “Our engineers, cryptographers, designers, policy experts and product managers have worked tirelessly to rebuild Messenger features from the ground up.”
Reportedly, using encrypted chats won’t prevent you from using Messenger’s capabilities, so you may continue to utilize custom replies and themes. It does point out that it might “take some time” for all Messenger conversations to transition to the default encryption.
Although this is a positive step, group Messenger chats still only offer opt-in end-to-end encryption at this time. Although Meta stated in August that this would happen “shortly after” the deployment of default private Messenger chats, Instagram messages are likewise not encrypted by default.
In 2019, the company’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, declared that all of its messaging apps will switch to encrypted ephemeral messages. “I believe the future of communication will increasingly shift to private, encrypted services where people can be confident what they say to each other stays secure and their messages and content won’t stick around forever,” he stated in a Facebook post. “This is the future I hope we will help bring about.”
By making encryption the default setting, Meta should not only be unable to read most Messenger chats’ contents, but also be unable to provide them to law enforcement. The firm made news last year after police discovered the Messenger chat history of a 17-year-old girl from Nebraska and her mother, who were charged with executing an unlawful abortion. Advocates of encryption claim that advances in technology make it more difficult to identify malicious users of messaging programs like WhatsApp, which by default encrypts data.