Facebook is testing default end-to-end encryption in Messenger
Facebook has offered end-to-end encrypted chats for Messenger since 2016. But the service had to be enabled for each individual chat session, requiring users to be informed and also making it a bit of a pain to keep conversations secure. While it wasn’t ready to have encryption on by default late last year, things have now changed. Over the coming weeks, Facebook will test having end-to-end encrypted chats on by default. The test will roll out to selected users, who should notice that their chats are end-to-end encrypted without the need to take any kind of action.
Facebook will also begin testing behaviors in an end-to-end encrypted environment like syncing between devices. This means when you delete a message in one instance of Messenger, it will carry over to another instance on a different device. Users will also be able to unsend messages and reply to Facebook Stories, all within an end-to-end encrypted space. Furthermore, the company will also bring end-to-end encryption to calls made using Messenger. Although a bit niche, encryption will also carry over to those using hands-free responses on Ray-Ban Stories.
In order to accommodate end-to-end encryption, Facebook will also make changes to some features found in Messenger. Vanish Mode will be going away, but Disappearing Messages will still be a thing, which means you can still send ultra-sensitive messages, only to have them disappear after a set amount of time. The company will also begin testing a new way to back up end-to-end encrypted chat messages called Secure Storage. The service will safely store encrypted chat backups online. Currently, encrypted messages are being stored on devices themselves.
With security in mind, Facebook will have layers of protection available when restoring an encrypted chat by requiring users to enter a PIN or use a generated code to access its contents. If users choose to backup the encrypted chats on their own, they will be able to do so using a service of their choice. While the rollout will be gradual, Facebook states that it will start soon and will continue into 2023.