Meta Platforms has commenced the rollout of default end-to-end encryption (E2E) within its Facebook Messenger, a move previously disclosed by network sources. Mark Zuckerberg, the head of the company, specified that this enhanced encryption will cover personal chats and calls by default, while group chat encryption remains an optional feature.
Rebuilding Messenger for Enhanced Security
In a blog post, Meta Messenger CEO Loredana Crisan highlighted the extensive effort invested in this encryption shift: “It took years because we took our time trying to get it right. Our engineers, cryptographers, designers, policy experts, and product managers have worked tirelessly to rebuild Messenger functionality from the ground up.”
Evolution of End-to-End Encryption
Default end-to-end encryption signifies that Meta will no longer have access to user data. This feature was initially introduced in Messenger’s “secret conversations” mode in limited testing back in 2016. Over time, the company expanded encryption to voice and video calls in 2021, subsequently adding it to group chats and calls in January, with plans announced in August 2023 to implement it by default by year-end.
Challenges and Progress
According to Meta’s engineering blog, the adoption of end-to-end encryption, powered by the Signal protocol, encountered delays due to the necessity of rebuilding various components, such as the sticker library and chat storage, entirely from scratch.
Enhanced Messenger Features
Besides encryption enhancements, Meta unveiled new Messenger functionalities, adds NIX Solutions. Users can now edit messages within 15 minutes of sending, listen to audio at increased speeds, experience redesigned photo and video layouts, and access a revamped interface for disappearing messages. Moreover, the company disclosed ongoing efforts to develop a feature enabling the sending of HD photos and videos via Messenger.