Over the next couple of months, Meta will slowly broaden end-to-end file encryption (E2EE) to all Messenger users to make sure a high level of security throughout the board.
“Slowly” is the keyword here as Meta mentions it will arbitrarily select (opens in brand-new tab) which talks get E2EE and which ones don’t. When selected, everybody in a chosen chat will be informed if their app now has that additional layer of defense. The thinking behind the random choice procedure is to alleviate both users and the business’s own facilities so regarding not overwhelm either of them. Preferably, the rollout will go more efficiently when done gradually rather of at one time. Plus, Meta will be checking whether E2EE will be a default setting for Messenger throughout this duration. So if you are among the fortunate couple of who gets selected initially, make sure to set up the upgrade as quickly as you can to have ideal security.
It’s worth noting that back in 2021 (opens in new tab), Meta said it had plans to release a full version of E2EE to both Messenger and Instagram in 2023. The latter’s end-to-end encryption is available in certain regions with an official launch presumably still in the works. Instagram’s E2EE feature has been in a testing phase as of August 2022 (opens in new tab). Not much else is known, but Meta does mention in this latest announcement that it will provide updates “over the course of 2023.”
What’s old is now new
In addition to the expansion, E2EE-enabled Messenger chats will be getting six new features that boost security and customization; although it’s nothing that we haven’t seen before.
You have things like link previews so you know where you’re going when selecting a hyperlink and the ability to adjust your Active Status for added privacy. Going further down the list, chat themes are now available so you can ditch the plain white background plus custom emoji reactions, profile photos for Groups, and Bubble notifications to appear when using other apps (although only on Android).
It looks like Meta is bridging the gap between the non-encrypted version of Messenger and this new E2EE-enabled version. Perhaps the company is setting things up to eventually ditch the non-encrypted app as part of a long-term plan, but it’s still too early to tell if that will be the case.
We asked Meta if the six features will launch today to all users with E2EE Messenger or if will they coincide with the gradual rollout mentioned earlier. We also asked for an upgrade regarding Instagram file encryption since there’s hardly been any news regarding the E2EE on the app in the past several months. This story will be updated if we hear back.
If you’re interested in other messaging apps with E2EE and don’t want to wait for Messenger, be sure to check TechRadar’s updated list of the best. Of course, you have Meta’s own WhatsApp, which has actually had encryption for years. You likewise have Telegram and Threema.