Default end-to-end encryption is definitely coming to Messenger this year. Meta promises. Twice.
Earlier this year, Meta released a big update for end-to-end encrypted messages on Messenger. The company added a slew of features supported through E2EE, including chat themes, custom chat emojis and reactions, group profile photos, link previews, active status, and bubbles on Android. All of these features have been available on Messenger for a while, but due to the complexity of encryption, they had been absent from conversations where E2EE was turned on.
When Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the features were rolling out, the company also revealed that they would be beginning to test setting conversations to be end-to-end encrypted messages by default. In addition, they would also be upgrading existing conversations to E2EE. The company said those upgrades would be happening randomly and start to roll out in the “coming months.”
Well, it appears that day is here. In a blog post, Timothy Buck, a Product Manager on the Messenger team, announced that Meta is expanding its testing of end-to-end encryption on the platform. According to Buck, “millions” of existing conversations on Messenger will be upgraded to end-to-end encryption starting today.
In addition, the company says that it is on track to make E2EE the default setting for “one-to-one friends and family chats” on Messenger by the end of 2023:
Starting today, millions more people’s chats on Messenger will be upgraded to stronger encryption standards as part of our ongoing end-to-end encryption (E2EE) testing. We remain on track to launch default E2EE for one-to-one friends and family chats on Messenger by the end of the year. And as we increase the scale of testing, we wanted to provide an update on how we’ve approached this large and complex engineering challenge.
Meta has a lot going on right now. On the same day that it announced the expansion of E2EE testing, it also revealed that a web app for Instagram’s new Threads app is rolling out this week and that Instagram Reels is getting a chronological feed for users in Europe.