After years of promises and limited tests, Meta has started rolling out default end-to-end encryption protection for Messenger. In an announcement, Mark Zuckerberg said that personal chats and calls will get default end-to-end encryption. However, encryption for group chats still remains an opt-in feature.
End-to-end encryption is an important security layer as it doesn’t allow Meta or other third-party entities to access the content of a chat.
“This has taken years to deliver because we’ve taken our time to get this right. Our engineers, cryptographers, designers, policy experts, and product managers have worked tirelessly to rebuild Messenger features from the ground up,” Meta’s Head of Messenger, Loredana Crisan, said in a blog post.
Meta first introduced the end-to-end encryption feature on Messenger in a limited test in 2016 via a “secret conversations” mode. In 2021, the company brought the encryption feature for voice and video calls on the app. The social networking giant began providing an end-to-end encryption option for group chats and calls in January 2022. In August 2022, Meta started testing end-to-end encryption for individual chats. In August 2023, the company said it plans to roll out default end-to-end encryption by the end of the year.
On its engineering blog, Meta said that rolling out end-to-end encryption — for which it uses the Signal protocol — took such a long time for roll out because the company had to rebuild certain features such as the sticker library and chat storage from the ground up.
With this rollout, Messenger will be a step closer to achieving full end-to-end protection like another Meta-owned chat app WhatsApp. In August, the company also said that Instagram DMs would get end-to-end encryption protection after the Messegner rollout.
Apart from this security update, Meta is also launching new features for Messenger including the ability to edit a message up to 15 minutes after sending; speed control for voice messages to play those audio clips at 1.5x or 2x; new photo and video layouts; and a new interface for disappearing messages. The company also said that it is working on the ability to send HD photos and videos on Messenger.