Facebook tightened security on its popular Messenger platform by adding end-to-end encryption for all users. This means Meta can not eavesdrop on conversations.
Reports that this feature was “coming soon” have been circulating since at least 2016.
Facebook Messenger finally joins the end-to-end encryption club
E2EE is considered the “holy grail” privacy standard. Communication services that use it completely limit access to only the people on the call.
And Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said late Wednesday, “After years of work rebuilding Messenger, we’ve updated the app with default end-to-end encryption for all personal calls and messages.”
A Facebook support document says, “The content of your messages and calls in end-to-end encrypted conversations is protected from the moment it leaves your device to the moment it reaches the receiver’s device. This means that nobody else can see or listen to what’s sent or said – not even Meta.”
The same document also warns that the feature doesn’t prevent one of the recipients from copying messages and distributing them on some insecure way.
Not breaking new ground
While this is certainly a welcome development — especially to Facebook Messenger users who don’t want Meta data mining their conversations — it doesn’t push the service ahead of its rivals. Many of them already have E2EE.
The most obvious example for Apple users is iMessage. When iPhone users exchange messages, these are encrypted. The same isn’t true with messages sent to Androids, though that might change in 2024 with Apple adopting RCS.
WhatsApp also supports end-to-end encryption, as does Signal and others.