Meta does not plan to roll out end-to-end encryption (E2EE) by default on Facebook Messenger and Instagram till 2023. The Meta merge Facebook Messenger and Instagram chats last year, as a part of its plan to create a unified messaging system across all of its platforms.
According to The Verge, while messages sent through Facebook Messenger and Instagram can be E2EE, that option isn’t turn on by default and likely won’t be until sometime in 2023.
As WhatsApp already supports E2EE by default.
According to a source, Antigone Davis, Meta’s head of safety, attributed the delay to concerns about user safety.
Since E2EE means only the sender and recipient will see their conversations,
Antigone Davis said Meta wants to ensure that this doesn’t interfere with the platform’s ability to help stop criminal activity.
When E2EE does become available by default, Antigone Davis note that the company will “use a combination of non-encrypted data across our apps, account information and reports from users” to help keep them safe, all while “assisting public safety efforts.”
Meta said that default E2EE would become available on Instagram and Messenger, “sometime in 2022 at the earliest.”
But, Antigone Davis said that Meta wants to “get this right,” so the company plans on delaying the feature’s debut until 2023.
Also going into effect in 2023 is the UK’s Online Safety bill, which will require online platforms to keep children from harm, as well as promptly address abusive content.
This may impede Facebook’s plans to enable E2EE by default, as the UK’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has criticised its use in the past.
US join the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, and Japan in a call to give local law enforcement backdoor encryption access, which would allow authorities to view encrypted messages and files if a warrant is issue.
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