Facebook and Instagram have no plans to introduce end to end encryption until 2023.
The company merged messenger and Instagram chats last year to create a unified messaging system for all of its platforms. According to The Verge, while messages sent over Messenger and Instagram can be E2EE, this option is not turned on by default and is unlikely to be available until 2023. WhatsApp already supports E2EE as a standard.
According to a source, Antigone Davis, a chief security officer at Meta, attributed the delay to user safety concerns. Because E2EE means only the sender and recipient can see your conversations, Davis wants to make sure that doesn’t affect the platform’s ability to stop criminal activity.
As soon as E2EE becomes available by default, Davis stated that the company:
“Will use a combination of unencrypted data in our apps, account information and reports from users” to keep them safe while “supporting public safety efforts”.
In a blog post earlier this year, Meta said that standard E2EE will be available on Instagram and Messenger:
“in 2022 at the earliest”. But now Davis said Meta “wants to get this right,” so the company plans to postpone the feature’s debut until 2023.
In 2023, the UK’s online safety law will also come into force, which obliges online platforms to protect children from harm and to combat abusive content immediately. This could hinder Facebook’s plans to enable E2EE by default, as UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has criticized the use in the past.
Last year the US joined the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India and Japan to give local law enforcement access to backdoor encryption, which would allow authorities to view encrypted messages and files when an arrest warrant is issued.