Facebook Messenger turns on end-to-end encryption by default for personal chats

Facebook Messenger is finally rolling out support for end-to-end encryption (E2EE) by default for personal chats and calls, the company announced on Wednesday. In the coming weeks and months, Facebook parent company Meta says existing conversations will be protected by E2EE and new chats will also be protected by the technology. The company says E2EE Messenger chats will offer the same features as previously unencrypted conversations, including the ability to unsend messages, set chat themes, and send custom message responses.

one in Post Announcing the launch of the new features, Messenger head Loredana Crisan said that both one-on-one chats and calls on the messaging app will now be protected by end-to-end encryption. According to Chrisan, Meta collaborated with experts and governments, academics, and advocates to ensure a balance of privacy and security.

Like WhatsApp, which is also owned by Meta, chats on the messenger can no longer be accessed by the company – with one exception. Meta will be able to view the content of E2EE messages when a conversation partner reports the content of a conversation – WhatsApp provides similar reporting mechanisms.

In January 2022, Meta updated Secret Conversations – its opt-in E2EE chat feature on Messenger – with support for features not available on regular chat. These include the ability to send GIFs and stickers in chat. Users can also set chat themes in secret conversations. According to Meta, enabling 24-hour disappearing messages mode in E2EE chat will also alert users when another participant takes a screenshot.

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Messenger’s E2EE chat has been updated with support for features found on regular chat
Photo Credit: Meta

Meta has been working on enabling encrypted chat by default for years, and the first hint of the company’s efforts came years ago when Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that the company add support Defaults to E2EE chat for both Instagram and Messenger.

The company says it has implemented it signal protocol (used on Signal, widely considered the gold standard among encrypted messaging apps) and the firm’s own maze protocol,

However, not all users will see their conversations immediately upgraded to E2EE chat. Chrisan says that “it may take some time for Messenger chats to be updated with default end-to-end encryption”, which suggests that the rollout could take quite some time.

It’s worth noting that features like optional E2EE encryption for chats on Instagram are still not available to users in some regions, including India. Gadgets 360 has contacted the company for details of the rollout for users in the country. Meta is expected to enable E2EE chat on Instagram by default once the messenger rollout is complete.

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