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Meta Defers Facebook Messenger, Instagram Default E2E Encryption Until 2023

by Abeerah Hashim
Facebook Messenger and Instagram encryption

Earlier this year, Facebook (now Meta) announced rolling out end-to-end encryption by default for all apps other than WhatsApp. Now, Meta disclosed a delay in this rollout of e2e encryption by default on Facebook Messenger and Instagram until 2023. The company cited security and privacy concerns that it needs to address before stepping ahead.

Facebook Messenger, Instagram Default E2E Encryption Postponed

In a recent post in The Telegraph, Meta’s Global Head of Safety, Antigone Davis, has elaborated on the company’s plans to launch e2e encryption by default for Facebook Messenger and Instagram. As confirmed, the company does not plan to complete this global rollout before 2023.

Davis cited various reasons for this delay, explicitly highlighting the company’s “three-pronged approach”.

Our three-pronged approach is focused on preventing harm from happening in the first place, giving people more control, and quickly responding should something occur.

This involves using technology to detect suspicious activities on accounts, improving users’ control on their online interactions, and improvising the abuse report system to take necessary actions.

Together with these approaches, the company also aims at protecting “under 18” users from unsolicited interactions.

Davis also explained how end-to-end encryption might hinder legal requirements for users’ online safety.

Even with billions of people already benefiting from end-to-end encryption, there is more data than ever for the police to use to investigate and prosecute criminals, including phone numbers, email addresses, and location data. In Europol’s most recent annual survey of police and judicial authorities, 85 per cent of those surveyed said this was the kind of data that was most often needed in investigations.

Thus, Meta aims at addressing these matters before opting for a global launch.

We’ll continue engaging with outside experts and developing effective solutions to combat abuse… We’re taking our time to get this right…

Last year, the firm officially merged Facebook Messenger and Instagram apps to support cross-platform communication. It’s an idea that Mark Zuckerberg first hinted in 2019 (that even took WhatsApp in the loop) for better e2e encryption across all apps.

In August, Meta introduced e2ee for Messenger calls.

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