Friday, December 08, 2023
By
Web Desk

Meta introduces default end-to-end encryption for Facebook, Messenger

The move aims to safeguard messages by encrypting their contents, making them accessible only to senders and recipients

By
Web Desk
The Facebook logo is seen on a phone in this photo illustration in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2019.—AFP
The Facebook logo is seen on a phone in this photo illustration in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2019.—AFP

Meta has announced a significant enhancement to security and privacy for users of its Facebook and Messenger apps by introducing default end-to-end encryption. 

This much-anticipated move aims to safeguard user messages by encrypting their contents, making them accessible only to the intended senders and recipients. 

While this marks a significant step forward in privacy protection, concerns have been raised that it might face opposition from government officials who fear that enhanced message security could facilitate criminal activities.

For years, Meta had expressed its intention to make encrypted messaging the default mode for its platforms. WhatsApp, another Meta messaging service, adopted default encryption in 2016. 

However, Messenger had only provided encrypted messaging on an opt-in basis until now. The shift towards default encryption on Messenger required a substantial reworking of the platform, according to Meta.

Under the new default settings, even Meta itself will be unable to access the content of user messages, aligning Facebook and Messenger with the privacy standards of WhatsApp, Signal, and Apple’s iMessage. 

Despite the enhanced security, encrypted messages could potentially be accessible to others if reported by a participant in the conversation.

The expansion of end-to-end encryption is expected to benefit users such as political dissidents, human rights workers, journalists, and minorities, providing increased protection from authoritarian governments. 

However, law enforcement officials have historically expressed concerns that such measures may hinder criminal investigations. The debate over encryption's impact on privacy and law enforcement continues, with government officials cautioning that enhanced encryption could empower criminals while critics argue that it safeguards individuals from potential abuse.