Messenger rolls out end-to-end encryption to everyone

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Messenger has rolled out its end-to-end encryption feature in chat to every user. Although, E2EE will not be available by default until 2023 at the least, the ability to turn on the feature is now widely available.

You can opt in either through a vanish mode, by swiping up on an existing chat to enter one where messages automatically disappear when the window is closed, or via the original version that was rolled out in 2016 as Secret Conversations. That can be turned on by toggling the lock icon when you start a new chat.

In addition, Meta is adding a new security feature to Messenger. The chat app has launched screenshot notifications in end-to-end encrypted chats. This is like what is being used in Snapchat. The feature alerts you if someone snaps a photo from Messenger’s disappearing messages. You will now be able to add GIFs, stickers, and reactions to your encrypted chats.

The roll out is widely available on all platforms, including web and mobile. Roll out is ongoing, and may take a couple of days to get to you in case you have not started using it already.

Though users have access to turn it on, the feature does not come by default. In a post in the Telegraph, Meta’s head of safety Antigone Davis said the delay in making the feature available by default has to do with user safety. Davis said Meta wants to ensure that E2EE does not interfere with the platform’s ability to help curb criminal activities.

Once the encryption feature becomes available by default, Davis said that Meta 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.”

Facebook’s latest stand contradicts what the company said earlier. According to Facebook, the plan was to roll out E2EE by default in 2022.

In related story, Meta announced in November that was shutting down its Face Recognition feature. The company made this known in a blog post. Facebook will also stop using facial recognition algorithms to tag people in photographs and videos as part of the coming change. It will delete the facial recognition templates that it uses for identification.

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Author: Ola Ric

Ola Ric is a professional tech writer. He has written and provided tons of published articles for professionals and private individuals. He is also a social commentator and analyst, with relevant experience in the use of social media services.

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