Facebook won’t implement End-To-End Encryption for Messenger and Instagram until 2023: Claims it doesn’t want to complicate hunting criminals on social media

Facebook Messenger Instagram WhatsApp Telegram Signal End To End Encryption E2EE Privacy Security
No E2EE for at least a year? Pic credit: Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr

Facebook owns WhatsApp, a platform that offered End-To-End Encryption (E2EE) while it was still an independent entity. But the social media giant refuses to implement the security and privacy feature for its Messenger and Instagram platforms.

Facebook (renamed to Meta), continues to delay implementing End-To-End Encryption for its most popular platforms. The social media giant has continued to “work and develop” the technology since 2019 but claims it won’t be available for Messenger and Instagram platforms reportedly until 2023 at the earliest.

Facebook claims it does not want to help criminals on social media by implementing End-To-End Encryption:

Meta, which is Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp’s parent company, refuses to roll out End-To-End Encryption (E2EE) by default on Messenger and Instagram until 2023.

Incidentally, Facebook merged Messenger and Instagram chats last year. The company claims it wanted to create a unified messaging system across all of its platforms.

In a blog post about Facebook’s Safety and Security plans, the company explained their reasons:

“While we expect to make more progress on default end-to-end encryption for Messenger and Instagram Direct this year, it’s a long-term project and we won’t be fully end-to-end encrypted until sometime in 2022 at the earliest. Moreover, the safety features we’ve already introduced are designed to work with end-to-end encryption, and we plan to continue building strong safety features into our services.”

Multiple news publications are now claiming that Facebook has essentially put the decision to implement E2EE on the backburner. It won’t make a decision on the same at least until the end of 2022.

Why does Facebook refuse to deploy a security and privacy feature on its most popular communication platforms?

Antigone Davis, Meta’s head of safety indicated Facebook can, but it won’t implement E2EE for Messenger and Instagram. The company insists the reason was concerns around safety, with Facebook not wanting to make it difficult to track criminals.

In a blog post earlier this year, Facebook indicated that default E2EE could become available on Instagram and Messenger “sometime in 2022 at the earliest.” But now, Davis says that Facebook wants to “get this right,” so the company plans on delaying the feature’s debut until 2023.

Facebook might have its own reasons to delay implementing E2EE. The company survives and thrives on data, which includes conversations. The company claims it ensures anonymity while processing and handling data. It makes sure there’s no personally identifiable information anywhere in the chain.

Popular messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, etc. have had E2EE for a long time. Hence, there’s no surprise that criminals often rely on this feature. External agencies, especially investigative and law enforcement agencies cannot look at data that E2EE protects.

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