Facebook has shared an update on its long-awaited plans to enable default end-to-end encryption (E2EE) by default on its Messenger chat platform. It said it began testing the feature for chats "between a few people" this week. Facebook currently offers Messenger users the option to turn on E2EE on a per-chat basis, but use of such E2EE features is generally only embraced by a security-conscious minority.

Facebook Messenger end-to-end encryption

Making end-to-end encryption (E2EE) the default would be a big step to add a substantial layer of security to the chat platform used by more than a billion people worldwide, The Verge noted. It is also likely to lead governments to argue that E2EE hinders their ability to fight crime.

End-to-end encryption means Facebook can't see the content of its users' messages and only the participants in the chat can see them. 

This makes it very difficult for third parties like hackers or regulatory agencies to see or eavesdrop on digital conversations. In recent years, Facebook's parent Meta has been gradually adding more layers of encryption to its various chat platforms, but these efforts have not yet been unified. 

Chats on WhatsApp are encrypted by default using the same protocol offered by the industry standard Secure Messenger Signal; Opt-in encryption for Instagram DM is currently being tested; And Messenger offers E2EE through its “disappearing message” feature. In addition to the new test of default E2EE, the company also announced a feature called “Secure Storage” that will encrypt cloud backups of users' chat history on Messenger.

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