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Default end-to-end encryption is not coming to Instagram or Facebook Messenger before 2023

Default end-to-end encryption is not coming to Instagram or Facebook Messenger before 2023

Meta says they want to get it right before they roll out E2EE to these platforms.

E2EE exists on Instagram and Messenger both but it is not turned on by default E2EE exists on Instagram and Messenger both but it is not turned on by default

One of WhatsApp’s main flexes is the fact that its messages are protected by end-to-end encryption (E2EE). When WhatsApp announced changes to its privacy policy in India, parent company Meta (Facebook) went all out, during the uproar that followed, to reiterate the fact that all private messages on the app are E2EE protected by default.

This was followed up by advertisements across platforms that played up the feature. However, while E2EE is one of its product’s main highlights, Meta is in no hurry to bring it, as a default, to its other platforms which also support messaging features.

According to reports, Meta has no plans of rolling out E2EE by default to Facebook Messenger and Instagram till at least 2023.

Meta merged Messenger and Instagram chats last year as a part of the bigger plan of creating a unified messaging system across all its platforms. It is also working on closing down Threads, the messaging app the company made for Instagram DMs, and will be directing users back to the Instagram app.

Now, messages on Messenger and Instagram can be E2EE -- that is not turned on by default and has to be done manually -- and it is not going to be till at least 2023.

Antigone Davis, Meta’s head of safety, told The Telegraph that this delay in rolling out E2EE by default to Messenger and Instagram is due to concerns the company has about user safety.

E2EE means that only the sender and the person receiving the messages can see the conversations and Davis explained that Meta “wants to ensure that this doesn’t interfere with the platform’s ability to stop criminal activity”.

As and when Meta is going to make E2EE available as default on these two platforms, Davis said that the company is going to use “a combination of non-encrypted data across our apps, account information and reports from users” to help keep users safe, while also assisting in “public safety efforts”.

Meta had earlier mentioned in a blog post that default E2EE would be coming to Instagram and Messenger sometime in 2022 but now it has changed its mind about it and have pushed the feature rollout to 2023. Davis said that Meta wants to “get this right” before it’s made officially available.

As The Verge pointed out, UK’s Online Safety Bill is going into effect in 2023 and that will “require online platforms to keep children from harm, as well as promptly address abusive content”. This is going to affect Meta’s plans of enabling E2EE by default. UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel has criticised the use of default E2EE in the past stating that it could make it more difficult to “prevent child abuse online”.

“Sadly, at a time when we need to be taking more action... Facebook is still pursuing E2EE plans that place the good work and the progress that has already been made at jeopardy,” Patel had said.

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