Meta Announces Default End-to-End Encryption for Facebook and Messenger Chats

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has declared that all Facebook and Messenger chats will now be encrypted by default, utilizing end-to-end encryption (E2EE).

This means that messages and calls protected by E2EE can only be read by the sender and recipient, ensuring heightened privacy and security.

While the option to enable encrypted messages has been available for years, the default setting is a significant shift.

Loredana Crisan, the head of Messenger, emphasized in a post that E2EE ensures that nobody, including Meta, can access the content of the messages, unless the user chooses to report a message.

Despite the privacy benefits, the move has drawn criticism, particularly from UK police and government officials, who argue that encrypted messages could hinder efforts to detect child sexual abuse on the platform.

Critics fear that the encryption default might make it harder for law enforcement agencies to access crucial information.

Other messaging apps like iMessage, Signal, and WhatsApp already employ E2EE to protect user privacy.

However, the technology has become a contentious issue, with law enforcement and some children’s charities expressing concerns about its potential misuse.

Meta plans to extend default encryption to messages in Instagram, its other platform, in the coming year.

Users will be prompted to set up a recovery method when their chats are upgraded to E2EE, allowing them to restore messages if they change or lose a device.

The announcement also outlined additional features, including the ability to edit messages within 15 minutes after sending and control over read receipts.

Despite these enhancements, the controversy around default encryption continues, with Meta aiming to balance privacy and security in the evolving landscape of online communication.

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