Facebook Now Encrypts Almost All Emails

Say what you will about Facebook's track record when it comes to privacy, but its security is top-notch. Since May, the social media network has seen an enormous uptick in the amount of encrypted emails it sends and receives, with the result that a full 95 percent of emails sent by Facebook receive total encryption.

The information comes from Michael Adkins, a messaging integrity engineer writing on the official Facebook blog. Adkins shared a chart that showed how widespread Facebook's implementation of the STARTTLS security protocol had become. STARTTLS is a form of email encryption that requires two-way validation, meaning that recipients' email providers have to be in on the game as well.

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When Facebook first wrote about implementing STARTTLS encryption in May, 28.6 percent of its outgoing email received encryption. In the intervening months, it contacted major email providers such as Microsoft and Yahoo to support its preferred method of email encryption.

Now, only five percent of Facebook users receive unencrypted emails. Since Gmail uses STARTTLS encryption as well, it stands to reason that the five percent belong to smaller email providers that may not invest as many resources in security.

Depending on your settings, you may receive a great deal of email from Facebook. The network can notify you via email every time someone comments on one of your posts or sends you a message. It's good to know that the information is secure, but one must wonder how much of the information needed securing to begin with.

Knowing that Sally clicked Like on your Instagrammed dinner photo is hardly compromising information. Notifications about private messages are obviously a bit more sensitive, but unless you've been discussing illegal activities via Facebook, it's hard to imagine who would want to listen in — if they even have the technical know-how to do so.

Still, more security in an unsecure world is never a bad thing. Users can rest a little easier knowing that even though Facebook may have more personal information than they'd like, the company won't let it fall into the wrong hands. Of course, advertisers are another story.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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