- Sep 20, 2021
Facebook Messenger users now have the option of using end-to-end encryption (E2EE) to protect their voice and video calls. Together with this update, Facebook has introduced new controls for disappearing messages. E2EE has been available for texts sent over Messenger since 2016 when Facebook added secret messages. Facebook noted it’s making these changes in response to an increase in audio and video calling on the platform, where users make over 150 million video calls a day.
As the most used messaging app in the US, Americans use Facebook messenger to make video calls to friends and family to discuss all sorts of things.
From such diverse uses as planning family trips to sharing the latest NFL MVP odds, the messenger is used for pretty much anything you can imagine. Introducing E2EE for voice and video calls allows users to communicate confidently, knowing their information is protected.
Why is end-to-end encryption important?
Let’s take a look at what E2EE is and why you need it. Wherever you send an image, video, text, or file over the internet, your communication is at risk. Encryption scrambles the information you send over the internet, making it unreadable. E2EE encrypts messages on one device in a way that only the receiving device can decrypt the message. In other words, only the sender and receiver can read the messages, nobody in-between.
Third-parties can’t eavesdrop on your chats and calls when you use messenger service with E2EE. You can’t get stronger security. E2EE is so strong that your internet service provider, server, network provider, not even the government can read your messages. Using E2EE is like mailing a physical letter in an indestructible safe that only the recipient has the key to open. E2EE ensures your communication stays private.
End-to-End encryption becoming standard for messaging apps
Facebook and other messaging apps have faced pressure from governments to drop plans to roll out E2EE. However, Facebook has expanded its E2EE offerings despite the pressure. Not even Facebook can read or listen to E2EE messages sent on its platform.
E2EE is already widely used by many video messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Signal, Zoom, and Facetime. It is quickly becoming an industry standard, working like a lock and key to keep people’s messages private and safe from criminals.
Facebook isn’t stopping with adding E2EE to its video and voice calls. It’s also enhancing Messenger’s security in other ways, including updating disappearing chats. When you set a message to disappear, you’ll have more expiration options. You’ll be able to choose from between five seconds and 24 hours. Before, the choices were one minute, 15 minutes, one hour, and 24 hours.
The future of End-to-End encryption at Facebook
In the weeks ahead, Facebook will begin testing other E2EE features with select users. Facebook has designed these features to increase your privacy and security within their fully encrypted chats. The company will start testing E2EE for group chats in Messenger, including voice and video calls. So keep an eye out. You may get a chance to try these features before they’re available to the general public.
In addition to E2EE for group chats, Facebook will test how delivery controls work with E2EE chats. Delivery controls allow you to control who’s added to your chat list, preventing unwanted interactions.
Facebook isn’t limiting these tests to Facebook. Facebook will let adults opt-in to E2EE messages and calls for one-on-one chats on Instagram in some countries. You’ll have to have an existing chat with a user or follow each other to start E2EE DMs. If something makes you uncomfortable, you’ll have the option to block users or report them. People expect privacy from their messaging apps, and it appears Facebook is listening.