Meta on Wednesday announced that the company is adding end-to-end encryption functionality to personal messages and calls on Messenger and Facebook. The California-based company, which also owns other popular messaging platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp, also announced other new privacy features that will help users control their ‘messaging experience’.

In a Facebook post announcing the launch of encryption on Messenger, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “After years of work rebuilding Messenger, we’ve updated the app with default end-to-end encryption for all personal calls and messages. Huge congrats to the team on making this happen. “

While users had the option to turn on end-to-end encryption since 2016, Meta will now encrypt private chats and calls across Messenger by default. 

Explaining why it took the company a lot of time to deliver end-to-end encryption functionality to Messenger, Meta said that it wanted to get the change right and its team has worked on rebuilding Messenger features from the ground up.

Meta Vice President, Messenger, Loredana Crisan while informing about what the new feature would entail said, “The extra layer of security provided by end-to-end encryption means that the content of your messages and calls with friends and family are protected from the moment they leave your device to the moment they reach the receiver’s device. This means that nobody, including Meta, can see what’s sent or said, unless you choose to report a message to us.”

The end-to-end encryption debate:

End-to-end encryption has been a point of contention between social media companies and governments. While end-to-end encryption is likely to make social media apps more attractive to users in terms of privacy, it also makes it incredibly difficult for law enforcement agencies to track illegal activity on these platforms. In September this year, the UK government urged Meta not to roll out end-to-end encryption for Instagram and Facebook Messenger without introducing safeguards to protect children from sexual abuse, Reuters reported.

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Published: 07 Dec 2023, 09:32 AM IST