Meta plans to introduce end-to-end encryption for Messenger by the end of 2023.

Meta plans to introduce end-to-end encryption for Messenger by the end of 2023.

Meta Expands End-to-End Encryption Testing for Messenger Chats

Meta Messenger

Meta, the parent company of popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, has announced the official expansion of its end-to-end encryption (E2EE) testing for Messenger chats. This move comes as part of Meta’s ongoing efforts to prioritize user data privacy and security. The plan is to implement default E2EE as a new security measure for all Messenger users by the end of 2023, offering them a stronger encryption standard.

The journey towards achieving E2EE for Messenger has been a challenging one for Meta. The company has learned valuable lessons from the process of upgrading Messenger in the past and implementing E2EE for WhatsApp. These lessons have guided Meta in designing a scalable, reliable, lightweight, and simple E2EE system for Messenger, capable of operating at a large scale.

The initial work on E2EE for Messenger began in 2019 when Meta assigned a dedicated team to lead the project. However, the team soon discovered that the task was more complex than originally anticipated. The existing infrastructure relied on servers to process messages, which needed to be reworked to enable E2EE. Meta had to rewrite almost the entire messaging and calling code base from scratch.

Timothy Buck, product manager for Messenger, explained, “With E2EE, we couldn’t rely on servers to process and validate message content. We needed to redesign the entire system so that it would work without Meta’s servers seeing the message content.”

To make E2EE possible, over 100 features in Messenger had to be reworked to be client-centric. For example, generating rich previews of YouTube links is now done on a user’s device before encrypting and sending the message. Despite these changes, Meta ensured that Messenger continues to function smoothly, providing users with privacy while maintaining a stable user experience.

By expanding the testing phase, millions of users can now access Messenger’s stronger encryption standard. Meta plans to gradually increase the testing and roll out the upgraded E2EE service to more users in the coming months. However, this transition will require users to update their app to the latest version of Messenger, as the new encryption features will be available in recent builds.

“As people update their app to the latest version of Messenger, we will be able to upgrade those conversations with the additional privacy and security of E2EE,” said Buck.

Meta’s commitment to enhancing privacy and security demonstrates its dedication to user trust and protection. With the implementation of default E2EE, Messenger users can look forward to having their private conversations better safeguarded, ensuring their sensitive information remains confidential.

Overall, Meta’s expansion of end-to-end encryption testing for Messenger chats marks an important step towards creating a more secure messaging platform for users worldwide. As the company continues to refine and improve its E2EE system, users can anticipate a more secure and private messaging experience in the future.

Key Highlights:

  • Meta expands end-to-end encryption (E2EE) testing for Messenger chats, aiming to implement default E2EE for all users by the end of 2023.
  • The process of implementing E2EE has been challenging, requiring Meta to redesign the entire system and rewrite the messaging and calling code base from scratch.
  • Over 100 features in Messenger needed to be reworked to make it client-centric with E2EE, without compromising the user experience.
  • Millions of users now have access to Messenger’s stronger encryption standard during the current testing phase.
  • Users will need to update their Messenger app to the latest version to benefit from the additional privacy and security of E2EE.