The Default End-to-end Encryption for Facebook Messenger and Instagram May Not Be Implemented Until 2023 at the Earliest
Last year, Facebook merged its Messenger and Instagram chats as part of a plan to create a unified messaging system for all of its platforms, which it has now completed. It isn’t until 2023 that E2EE messages can be sent through Messenger and Instagram, but they aren’t turned on by default. E2EE is already supported by WhatsApp by design.
Antigone Davis, Meta’s head of safety, blames the delay on user safety concerns in a post on The Telegraph. Meta is concerned that E2EE, which allows only the sender and recipient to see each other’s conversations, will hinder its ability to help law enforcement stop criminal activity. A combination of non-encrypted data across our apps, account information, and reports from users” will be used to keep users safe and “help public safety efforts” when E2EE is made available by default, according to Davis’ statement.
“Sometime in 2022 at the earliest,” Meta stated in a blog post earlier this year that default E2EE would be available on Instagram and Messenger. Now that Meta wants to “get this right,” Davis says the movie’s premiere will be postponed until 2023.
Additionally, the UK’s Online Safety Bill, which will go into effect in 2023, will impose new obligations on online platforms to protect children and to take immediate action against any abusive content they may encounter. As UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has previously criticized its use, Facebook’s plans to enable E2EE by default may be hindered.. E2EE could make it harder to protect children from online abuse, according to Patel, according to a BBC report: “Sadly, at a time when we need to take more action… Facebook is still pursuing E2EE plans that put the good work and progress that has already been made at risk.”
US officials backed a call last year to allow local law enforcement backdoor access to encrypted communications, which would enable authorities if warrants were issued to view the content of encrypted messages and files.