Meta has begun rolling out default end-to-end encryption for personal messages and calls on Messenger and Facebook that aims to make its offerings safer, more secure and private. The new feature will be available for some users immediately but will take a few months to complete its global rollout, according to a statement by Meta.
While the option for people to turn on end-to-end encryption was available since 2016, Meta said that it has taken them years to ensure it has the capability to have private chats and calls to be end-to-end encrypted by default.
“The extra layer of security provided by end-to-end encryption means that the content of your messages and calls with friends and family are protected from the moment they leave your device to the moment they reach the receiver’s device,” added the statement.
“This means that nobody, including Meta, can see what’s sent or said, unless you choose to report a message to us,” the statement explained.
Meta has also introduced new privacy, safety and control features such as delivery controls that let people choose who can message them, as well as an app lock that complements existing safety features that include report, block and message requests.
Users can also now edit a message for up to 15 minutes after they are sent.
"You can still report abuse in an edited message and Meta will be able to see the previous versions of the edited message," it said.
In its bid to be open about the security technology Meta utilises, it will also be publishing two papers that outline Meta’s approach to cryptography, as well as how it encrypts user message history with Secure Storage.
"Our engineers, cryptographers, designers, policy experts and product managers have worked tirelessly to rebuild Messenger features from the ground up.," it said.
It added that in doing so, it worked closely with outside experts, academics, advocates and governments to identify risks and build mitigations to ensure that privacy and safety go hand-in-hand.
"We take our responsibility to protect your messages seriously and we’re thrilled that after years of investment and testing, we’re able to launch a safer, more secure and private service," it said.
News of end-to-end encryption comes shortly after Meta unveiled plans to reunite Facebook with its Messenger app after nearly a decade of separation after Messenger became a stand-alone function from Facebook.
In a statement to CNN in March this year, head of Facebook Tom Alison said the test is Facebook's way to compete with social media platform TikTok by "bolstering its position both as a platform to discover new content and discuss it".
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