Meta has just taken a huge step toward tighter security in Messenger. They've officially begun rolling out end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for personal calls and one-on-one messages by default, marking it as a game-changing milestone.
This isn't your usual security update. Loredana Crisan, VP of Messenger at Meta, highlighted that they rebuilt the app from scratch, with inputs from privacy and safety experts. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, emphasized that this update aligns with their vision for a more privacy-focused social networking experience announced back in 2019.
While group messaging's E2EE is still in testing, this rollout covers personal messages and calls. It's a significant move, automatically extending robust encryption protections to Facebook and Messenger users. Essentially, it keeps your messages safe from prying eyes by encrypting them, ensuring only the intended recipients can read them.
However, this shift towards stronger privacy measures might not sit well with everyone. Government officials have expressed concerns about encrypted messages potentially aiding criminal activities. But Meta has been vocal about its intentions to make encryption the default for its messaging platforms for quite some time now.
WhatsApp, owned by Meta, adopted default encryption in 2016, while Messenger only offered it on an opt-in basis until now. Even Instagram, under Meta's umbrella, started testing E2EE messaging in 2021. The delay in bringing default encryption to Messenger stemmed from the extensive overhaul required to support it.
According to Crisan, this revamp is the most significant Messenger upgrade since its launch in 2011. Notably, Meta won't have access to these encrypted messages, aligning Messenger with WhatsApp and other secure messaging apps like Signal and Apple's iMessage.
While these encrypted messages will be shielded from everyone except the sender and receiver, there's one caveat: if someone in the conversation reports a message to Meta, they might access it.
This move to default E2EE in Messenger fulfills a long-standing promise. The company assures users that this enhancement won’t compromise Messenger’s features, including themes and custom reactions. However, the transition to default encryption for all Messenger chats might take some time.
In essence, this update marks a substantial leap toward stronger privacy measures in Messenger, ensuring your conversations remain between you and your intended recipient, shielded from unwanted eyes.