Meta, earlier known as Facebook, has no plans to secure Messenger and Instagram with default end-to-end encryption until 2023. While the option does exist in both apps, it’s not enabled by default.
According to Antigone Davis, Meta’s global head of safety, the delay is caused by concerns about user safety. Meta doesn’t want the change to interfere with the platform’s ability to help stop criminal activities.
In a post on The Telegraph, Davis points out that once the change is implemented, the company will “use a combination of non-encrypted data across our apps, account information and reports from users” while assisting any public safety efforts carried out by law enforcement agencies.
Getting E2EE right?
Meta had earlier stated that E2EE (end-to-end encryption) would be available on Instagram and Messenger by default sometime in 2022. However, now Davis says that the company wants to get this right and hence the delay.
Another thing that can impede Meta’s plan of rolling out default E2EE is the UK’s Online Safety Bill which requires platforms to ensure that children are protected online and address abusive content.
Meta already has several safeguards for its users in place, including banning or blocking users that make far too many accounts or constantly message a large number of people they don’t know. According to Davis, “this technology is already in place, and we’re working to improve its effectiveness.”
He also pointed out the numerous already working safeguard tools for users, including the ability to block DMs based on whether or not they contain certain words specified by the user. Additionally, the company is also urging more users to report harmful messages, even giving them a prompt where they think there might be a problem.