Messenger Aiming for Default End-to-End Encryption by 2024

 

  • Meta is working towards establishing end-to-end encryption (E2EE) as the default setting for one-on-one Messenger chats by the close of 2023.
  • Despite previous delays in implementing E2EE, Meta has been diligently focusing on this enhancement since 2019.
  • Meta’s ongoing endeavors to make E2EE the default encompass revamping the code base for messaging and calling, reducing dependency on servers, and devising methods for content interpretation without visibility.
  • These initiatives are aimed at ensuring user privacy and security.

As part of its strategy, Meta plans to expand testing for E2EE in the interim, garnering insights and feedback to facilitate a smooth rollout of the feature on the Messenger app. Users will have the option to opt in after updating to the latest version, allowing for a gradual adoption of enhanced encryption measures.

While top secure messaging platforms have made end-to-end encryption (E2EE) their default, certain Meta products have been slower to adopt this feature. Facebook Messenger, for instance, introduced E2EE as an option for group chats and calls only last year. Despite this initial delay, Meta is determined to expand E2EE availability. The company’s objective is to establish E2EE as the default for one-on-one Messenger chats by the close of 2023.

Meta first introduced an E2EE option for Messenger approximately seven years ago. Notably, WhatsApp, also under Meta’s ownership, has been praised for its E2EE functionality, but Meta has been gradually extending this to Messenger. Ongoing testing now allows more users to enable E2EE, with Meta confidently asserting that it will become the default by 2024.

Presently, Messenger users can opt for E2EE through “Secret Conversations,” but this is not the standard setting. Meta attributed this delay to code-related challenges. The company’s recent announcement outlined its continuous efforts to establish E2EE as the norm. This process involves rewriting a significant portion of the messaging and calling code base to minimize reliance on servers. Previously, servers were utilized to process message content on Messenger and Instagram. Meta’s task now is to devise a method for products to interpret content without direct visibility.

Benefiting from the expertise of its WhatsApp engineering team, Meta is well-equipped to develop the E2EE feature. Going forward, the focus lies in rebuilding numerous other features within Messenger, including external link previews and stickers. Meta anticipates that the expanded testing phase will provide valuable insights to facilitate a smooth E2EE rollout.

For those participating in the testing phase, updating the Messenger app to the latest version will enable the option to deploy E2EE for their chats.

 

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