To say that Facebook has faced its fair share of privacy and security issues the past few years is probably an understatement. Despite all that, it’s still a pretty popular social media platform, especially its Messenger and Instagram apps. But if you’re expecting that they will be releasing privacy features like default end-to-end encryption, don’t hold your breath, at least until 2022. They have not discussed plans about these important security features but now they have talked about it. Well, sort of.
Facebook posted a pretty long blog about the results of their Messenger Policy Workshop and an update on their “approach” to Private Messaging. They have been holding some workshop discussions and they shared some key takeaways, none of which are news to most of us that have been following security and privacy issues the past few years. They shared things like consumers wanting more privacy and safety controls as well as protections from scams and hacking as well as finding the balance of safety, privacy, and security.
But what users really wanted to know is if we’ll be getting end-to-end encryption for Messenger and Instagram Direct anytime soon, similar to what we get from WhatsApp. Sadly, the answer is that they’re working on it but it will not be coming this year. They did say they expect to “make more progress” this year for default encryption for the two apps but that it’s a long-term project that they don’t expect to finish “until sometime in 2022 at the earliest”.
Actually, for Messenger, there’s end-to-end encryption already but it’s only for when you switch to the “Secret Conversation” mode. This means all messages exchanged in this mode are not stored on any server or seen by carriers, Internet providers, or Facebook itself. But what people want is to have one that is default for all conversations in Messenger. Instagram currently does not have any type of encryption in its Direct section.
If you’re looking for end-to-end encryption for your messaging services, there are a lot of options out there like Telegram, Signal, and even Facebook’s own WhatsApp. We’ll probably know more about this by next year if they’ve made any progress.