Meta Started Gradually Expanding Testing Default End-to-End Encryption

Meta announced that it had begun gradually increasing the roll-out of end-to-end encryption for its Messenger service. The company is “ramping up” the testing, Mark Zuckerberg said, adding that end-to-end encrypted chats will have the standard features, like:

  • Custom emojis
  • Chat themes and link previews
  • Active status and group profile photos

Recognizing the importance of end-to-end encryption for the “billions of messages that are sent on Messenger every day,” the company said it first needs to go through careful testing.

Messenger will notify its users of the extra layer of protection added to their chats as it plans to gradually roll out this feature to millions of users over the next few months.

Meta said that, in order to avoid any negative impact on the user chat experience or the company infrastructure, the process in which it selects and upgrades individual threads is random.

We know people want a space to connect, and they want to know that those conversations are private, safe, and secureMeta

The firm further went on to say,

That is why we’ve spent time building a team of talented engineers, cryptologists, designers, and policy experts who are all committed to rolling out default end-to-end encryption on Messenger.

Unlike WhatsApp — Meta’s other popular messaging app — Messenger doesn’t have end-to-end encryption enabled by default for all conversations. Meta is no stranger to end-to-end encryption, as the company first tested the service for its “secret conversations” in 2016.

In January 2022, the company allowed its Messenger users an opt-in end-to-end encryption service for group chats and voice and video calls. End-to-end encryption will become the default setting for all conversations after the roll-out of this update is complete.

Mark Zuckerberg’s post from 2021 claims Meta has a privacy-focused vision for social networking, listing encryption as a crucial part of his vision.

People’s private communications should be secure. End-to-end encryption prevents anyone — including us — from seeing what people share on our servicesMark Zuckerberg

Noting the importance of privacy and data security, Zuckerberg further went on to say:

People should expect that we won’t store sensitive data in countries with weak records on human rights like privacy and freedom of expression in order to protect data from being improperly accessed

In 2021, Meta began testing end-to-end encryption for Instagram through an opt-in setting. Last February, Instagram introduced the feature for all users in Russia and Ukraine.

Meta previously said it expects the implementation of default end-to-end encryption protection across all of its apps by the end of 2023.

While the company hasn’t provided a recent update regarding that expectation, it said it would provide updates as it continues to bring end-to-end encryption to Messenger.

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