Facebook Messenger voice and video calls finally get end-to-end encryption

Facebook Messenger is introducing end-to-end encryption, or E2EE, for voice and video calls.

Facebook began trialing end-to-end encryption in 2016 – when it added a mysteriously named “secret conversations” feature to its Messenger mobile app that offered the – admittedly, buried – option to secure one-on-one text chats with end-to-end encryption. In the past year, Facebook said it’s noticed a surge in the use of audio and video calling. So, it’s upgrading this chat mode so you can secure your voice and video calls, if you choose.

The social network announced in a blog post on 13 August 2021 that Facebook Messenger now sees more than 150 million video calls a day, so it’s rolling out end-to-end encryption for voice and video calls as well as more functionality for disappearing messages. Keep in mind Facebook-owned WhatsApp has long secured voice and video calls with E2EE, preventing anyone but a sender and receiver from seeing or hearing the encrypted data.

There have been several reports over the years about Facebook potentially adopting a fully end-to-end encrypted system across all its messaging apps – including WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram. But, to date, the social network has yet to introduce such a unified feature, unfortunately.

Facebook did, however, announce on Friday that it’s running a limited beta test on Instagram. In this trial, some users will be able to opt-in to E2EE for direct messages  – so that’s a start. Facebook Messenger is also getting additional E2EE test features. Some Messenger users will see an option for end-to-end encrypted group chats and calls between “friends and family that already have an existing chat thread or are already connected”.

Finally, as for the disappearing messages update in Messenger, Facebook is introducing more options for choosing when a message expires. You’ll now see from between five seconds and 24 hours. It originally offered one-minute, 15-minute, one-hour, four-hour, and 24-hour increments.

Everyone on Facebook Messenger will see this disappearing messages update, as well as end-to-end encryption for voice and video calls.

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