On Thursday, Meta posted a blog post from its “Director of Product Management, Messenger Trust,” who emphasized that they have at least begun testing end-to-end encryption by default for Messenger chats. But Meta also announced plans to “test a new secure storage feature for backing up your end-to-end encrypted Messenger chats…”.

“As with end-to-end encrypted chats, secure storage means we won’t have access to your messages unless you choose to tell us about them.”

CNBC provides some context:

The announcement comes after Facebook handed over Messenger chat histories to Nebraska State Police as part of an investigation into an alleged illegal abortion. Meta spokesman Andy Stone said the feature has been in the works for some time and is unrelated to the Nebraska case…

The feature is rolling out to Android and iOS devices this week, but it’s not yet available on the Messenger site. The company has been discussing a full-scale rollout of end-to-end encryption since 2016, but critics said the security measure would make it much more difficult for law enforcement to catch child predators… Meta said in a release that it is moving toward a global rollout of default end-to-end encryption for private messages and calls in 2023 year.
Other privacy improvements announced Thursday by Meta:

  • “We plan to move end-to-end encryption calls to the Calls tab in Messenger.”
  • Meta has announced that deleting messages will start syncing across your other devices “soon.”
  • Messenger will continue to offer a “Disappear” message option where viewed messages in an end-to-end encrypted chat automatically disappear after a predetermined period of time.

And there’s more, according to Meta’s announcement:.

“This week we will start testing chats between some people with end-to-end encryption by default. If you join the test group, some of your most frequent chats may be automatically end-to-end encrypted, which means you won’t have to opt in to this feature. You -you will still have access to your message history, but any new messages or calls with this person will be end-to-end encrypted.You can still report messages to us if you believe they violate our policies and we will review them and take appropriate action ….

“Last year we started limited testing of end-to-end encrypted messages and calls on Instagram, and in February we expanded the test to include adults from Ukraine and Russia. We will expand the test even further soon. to include people from more countries and add more features like group chats….

“We will continue to provide updates as we progress towards the global rollout of standard end-to-end encryption for private messages and calls in 2023.”

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