In an attempt to enhance security and respond to user privacy concerns, Facebook has announced that it will be turning on end-to-end encryption (E2EE) by default in its Messenger chat platform by 2023.
First tested for “secret conversations” back in 2016, it wasn’t until 2021 that the social media company extended E2EE to voice and video calls. Currently, Facebook only offers Messenger users the option to turn on E2EE on a per-chat basis, but by setting the feature to turn on by default, even Facebook cannot view the content of its users’ messages — only participants can.
The company also plans to roll out a feature for iOS and Android called “secure storage”, which will enable users to upload their Messenger backup keys on third-party cloud services like iCloud or Google Drive and protect them with a PIN.
“We’re testing secure storage to back up those messages in case you lose your phone or want to restore your message history on a new, supported device,” said the company. “As with end-to-end encrypted chats, secure storage means that we won’t have access to your messages, unless you choose to report them to us.”
Facebook is also testing a number of new features on Messenger, including the ability to sync deleted messages across devices, unsend messages, and the possibility of adding encryption to hands-free messages sent on Messenger using the company’s Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses.
These updates are in line with Meta’s efforts in recent years to add layers of encryption to its different services, such as introducing Signal’s security protocol to WhatsApp, testing opt-in encryption for Instagram DMs, and enhancing E2EE functionality on Messenger through disappearing messages.
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