Meta Launches Default End-to-End Encryption for Chats and Calls on Messenger

Meta Launches Default End-to-End Encryption for Chats and Calls on Messenger

Meta has officially begun to roll out support for end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in Messenger for personal calls and one-to-one personal messages by default in what it called the “most significant milestone yet.”

“This isn’t a routine security update: we rebuilt the app from the ground up, in close consultation with privacy and safety experts,” Loredana Crisan, vice president of Messenger at Meta, said in a post shared on X (formerly Twitter).

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who announced a “privacy-focused vision for social networking” back in 2019, said the update comes “after years of work” redesigning the platform. It’s worth noting that E2EE for group messaging in Messenger is still in the testing phase.

Encrypted chats were first introduced in Messenger as an opt-in feature called “secret conversations” in Messenger in 2016. Meta’s Instagram also has support for E2EE for messages and calls but it’s “only available in some areas” and not enabled by default.

To that end, it not only upgraded over 100 features to incorporate encryption, but also developed new ways for users to manage their message history between devices, like setting up a PIN, by building a new encrypted storage system called Labyrinth.

Meta’s latest encryption announcement is likely to reignite ongoing debate involving privacy and the ability of law enforcement to conduct investigations and help obtain evidence of criminal activity. A September 2023 campaign by the U.K. government claimed that Meta’s plans to encrypt its platforms would allow child abusers to “hide in the dark.”