Here is some unfortunate news for those of you who love Facebook Messenger. Facebook will not encrypt Facebook Messenger messages by default until at least 2022. This also affects Instagram chats as well. Neither will have encryption by default anytime soon.
However, it is possible to enable end-to-end encryption for Facebook Messenger. The ability to do so has been around since 2016. But, in order to do so, users have to switch over to a “Secret Conversation” mode. Unfortunately, Instagram does not offer any type of end-to-end encryption for its chats.
Now for some people, this may not matter to them. But, for users who have become more and more conscious about what social media companies can see this can be a letdown. Facebook Messenger has a massive reach which means a lot of people use it to communicate with their family, friends, and maybe even co-workers.
Today May 3, 2021, Facebook updated its safety and security plans and announced these updates in a blog. There was some other information in the blog, but the main part about end-to-end encryption mentions the 2022 timeline.
While we expect to make more progress on default end-to-end encryption for Messenger and Instagram Direct this year, it’s a long-term project and we won’t be fully end-to-end encrypted until sometime in 2022 at the earliest. Moreover, the safety features we’ve already introduced are designed to work with end-to-end encryption, and we plan to continue building strong safety features into our services.
Facebook will not encrypt Facebook Messenger messages or Instagram chats until at least 2022
Facebook began the plan to implement end-to-end encryption across all of its messaging platforms back in 2019. To be clear, there are a lot of other platforms out there that offer end-to-end encryption.
Of course, there is Apple’s iMessage that has end-to-end encryption. But that is only for Apple users. But, there is Signal, Telegram, Wickr Me, and more.
So to see the company kind of dragging their feet through the mud is interesting. The company could find itself in a position where users begin to migrate away from their messaging platforms in favor of more secure ones.
Now 2022 is not that far away, so users may be okay with just waiting. But, this is one thing that a company like Facebook could implement easily. Making messages encrypted by default could be one of the easiest ways for the company to show its commitment to privacy.
Doing so would also offer a feature that competitors offer. In doing so Facebook’s, current userbase wouldn’t be tempted to switch. Hopefully, the company decides to speed up its end-to-end encryption plans, but only time will tell.