Don’t expect Facebook Messenger or Instagram Direct to add end-to-end encryption anytime soon

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The company speaks of a “long-term project”


End-to-end encrypted conversations aren’t just for whistleblowers and government officials. These days, more users than ever are aware of the importance of keeping conversations away from prying eyes. Apps like Signal and Telegram gained new followers earlier this year after WhatsApp botched a privacy policy update, drawing attention to the importance of putting extra security in place for communication tools . Today, Facebook recommitted to bringing end-to-end encryption to Messenger and Instagram Direct, but it may take longer than some users are willing to wait.

Although Facebook continues to work on the feature for its email clients, none of the apps will be encrypted until 2022. The announcement is part of a larger workshop being held to discuss the future of private communication. Facebook touts its recent “Vanish Mode” feature as a way to promote privacy when using its chat apps, but without end-to-end encryption it lags behind most competitors. Google added encryption to RCS in December, while the continued success of Signal and Telegram shows a growing awareness of privacy among consumers in general.

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Facebook says all of the protections already in place in Messenger and Instagram Direct will work with encryption once it launches, with additional “enhanced security features” also planned for its services. Of course, that won’t help anyone hoping either app will gain privacy this year.


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