Facebook today (Aug. 13) announced it was giving users the option for end-to-end encryption of voice and video calls made in Messenger, one of the company's two instant-messaging apps.
"People expect their messaging apps to be secure and private, and with these new features, we're giving them more control over how private they want their calls and chats to be," wrote Ruth Kricheli, Facebook's director of Messenger product management, in a company blog post (opens in new tab).
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The move comes five years after Messenger introduced a similar "Secret Conversations" option to make one-to-one text chats end-to-end encrypted if both parties agreed. WhatsApp, which Facebook bought in 2014, implemented full end-to-end encryption in 2016.
"The content of your messages and calls in an end-to-end encrypted conversation is protected from the moment it leaves your device to the moment it reaches the receiver's device," Kricheli explained. "This means that nobody else, including Facebook, can see or listen to what's sent or said."
Kricheli wrote that Facebook Messenger was also giving users greater control over the longevity of disappearing messages within end-to-end encrypted chats, "from as few as 5 seconds to as long as 24 hours."
But, as a TV commercial would say, that's not all. In the "coming weeks," Kricheli wrote, Messenger would "begin testing end-to-end encryption for group chats, including voice and video calls, for friends and family that already have an existing chat thread or are already connected."
And, she added, Facebook would be testing similar options for Instagram direct messages.
"We’ll also kick off a limited test with adults in certain countries that lets them opt-in to end-to-end encrypted messages and calls for one-on-one conversations on Instagram," Kricheli wrote. "Similar to how Messenger works today, you need to have an existing chat or be following each other to start an end-to-end encrypted DM."