Facebook is finally testing default end-to-end encryption settings for some users in Messenger. The company is still on track to make end-to-end encryption the default setting for everyone in 2023.
Facebook shared an update on its Messenger practices and testing in a post on its website earlier this week.
The company says it will start testing default end-to-end encryption in Messenger chats between “some people” this week.
End-to-end encryption has been available on Facebook Messenger for years now. But it’s not on by default and you have to enable it for each chat individually.
But soon, it will be on by default, bringing messenger closer to WhatsApp’s privacy status.
As part of the transition, the platform is also testing some new features to go along with end-to-end encryption. The new Secure Storage feature will be a way for users to backup their end-to-end encrypted messages.
Currently, encrypted messenger messages are stored only on your phone. That means if you lose the phone, you lose the encrypted messages.
Secure Storage will provide a way for you to backup those messages so this isn’t a problem in the future.
There are more features, like the ability to unsend messages and sync deleted messages across devices, that Facebook is testing internally. It also plans to expand its test features for end-to-end encryption on Instagram Messenger.
Why is default end-to-end encryption in Messenger taking so long?
End-to-end encryption has been available on Facebook Messenger since 2016. But here we are six years later and the option still isn’t available by default. So why wait this long?
Facebook’s answer to this question has always been that it’s all about user security. End-to-end encrypted messages can generally only be seen by the sender and receiver.
Encryption makes it more difficult to identify or catch potentially dangerous content in Messenger. It also makes it more difficult for Facebook to hand over private messages to police when approached with a search warrant.
Theoretically, the additional features that Facebook is working on alongside the planned deployment of default end-to-end encryption will help increase security.
Users can still report encrypted messages to Facebook, and the new Secure Storage will keep those messages around for longer.
But the company assures users that it’s on track to make end-to-end encryption the default in Messenger in 2023. But until then, you’ll have to continue to manually enable encryption if you want your messages to be truly private.
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