In a significant move towards bolstering user privacy, Meta Platforms has initiated the deployment of end-to-end encryption for personal chats and calls on Messenger and Facebook. The encryption, grounded on the Signal protocol and Meta's proprietary Labyrinth protocol, shields user communications from unauthorized access.
Enhanced Privacy with End-to-End Encryption
Meta's latest encryption feature allows only the sender and recipients to read the messages, eliminating the possibility of the company or any third parties gaining access to the contents. This privacy-focused vision of Meta puts Messenger on par with WhatsApp, another Meta-owned platform, already equipped with encryption.
Rollout and New Features
The gradual rollout of this default encryption will span months, eventually reaching over one billion users. Along with this security upgrade, users will enjoy new features such as the ability to edit messages, control over read receipts, and disappearing messages, enhancing the user experience significantly. The rollout will also extend to Instagram shortly after the Messenger upgrade.
Controversy and Law Enforcement Concerns
Despite Meta's assertion that end-to-end encryption enhances user safety by shielding against hackers, fraudsters, and criminals, its implementation has stirred controversy. The British government, among others, raised concerns in September about the potential risks to children's safety, particularly from sexual abuse, if encryption is rolled out on Instagram and Facebook Messenger without adequate safety measures. This encryption has also faced pushback from law enforcement agencies, fearing it may impede investigations.