Meta announced today that it has started gradually expanding testing default end-to-end encryption for Messenger. The messaging service is also bringing some of its standard features to end-to-end encrypted chats, including chat themes, custom chat emojis and reactions, group profile photos, link previews and active status.
Over the next few months, millions of users around the world will continue to see some of their chats gradually upgraded with end-to-end encryption. Messenger will notify people in these individual chat threads as they are upgraded. Meta says the process in which it selects and upgrades individual threads is random so that there isn’t a negative impact on the company’s infrastructure and users’ chat experience.
“We know people want a space to connect and they want to know that those conversations are private, safe and secure,” Meta said in a blog post. “That is why we’ve spent time building a team of talented engineers, cryptologists, designers and policy experts who are all committed to rolling out default end-to-end encryption on Messenger. Building a secure and resilient end-to-end encrypted service for the billions of messages that are sent on Messenger every day requires careful testing.”
Meta first tested end-to-end encryption features for Messenger back in 2016 for “secret conversations.” Last January, the company introduced opt-in end-to-end encryption for group chats and calls for Messenger. But unlike Meta’s other popular chat app WhatsApp, end-to-end encryption is not yet enabled by default for all conversations on Messenger, but this will soon change as the company begins rolling out default end-to-end encryption.
As for Instagram, the popular Meta app began testing end-to-end encrypted messages through an opt-in setting in 2021. Last February, the social media app introduced the feature for all users in Ukraine and Russia.
Meta has previously said that it expects to roll out default end-to-end encryption protection across all its apps sometime in 2023. The company has not provided a recent update on this timeline, but says it will give updates as it continues to bring end-to-end encryption to Messenger.