Meta Delays Facebook and Instagram's Encrypted Messages Rollout
Meta has delayed the rollout of end-to-end encrypted messages on Facebook and Instagram.Back when the company was still known simply as Facebook it announced that encrypted messages would expand from WhatsApp, which has offered end-to-end encryption to its users since 2014, to its main social network as well as Instagram's direct messages feature."We’re taking our time to get this right and we don’t plan to finish the global rollout of end-to-end encryption by default across all our messaging services until sometime in 2023," Meta head of safety Antigone Davis says in an article published by The Telegraph. "As a company that connects billions of people around the world and has built industry-leading technology, we’re determined to protect people’s private communications and keep people safe online."The Guardian notes that Meta's decision to delay the rollout of end-to-end encryption on Facebook and Instagram follows criticism from various organizations that have said making it more difficult to view messages sent on the platforms could endanger the service's users.Yet apps like Signal, Wickr, and Telegram have all become increasingly popular in recent years as people have learned more about how their communications might be snooped on by private companies, government organizations, and other groups if they aren't end-to-end encrypted."There’s an ongoing debate about how tech companies can continue to combat abuse and support the vital work of law enforcement if we can’t access your messages," Davis says in The Telegraph. "We believe people shouldn’t have to choose between privacy and safety, which is why we are building strong safety measures into our plans and engaging with privacy and safety experts, civil society and governments to make sure we get this right."Davis says Meta plans to address concerns with end-to-end encryption in Facebook and Instagram's messages with a "three-pronged approach" that includes creating proactive detection technology, giving users more control over their messages, and better reporting tools."As we roll out end-to-end encryption we will use a combination of non-encrypted data across our apps, account information and reports from users to keep them safe in a privacy-protected way while assisting public safety efforts," Davis says. "This kind of work already enables us to make vital reports to child safety authorities from WhatsApp."This delay shows that rolling out end-to-end encryption to Facebook and Instagram won't be as simple as the company expected in 2019, but at least that rollout has been delayed instead of canceled. Assuming, of course, that Meta follows through by introducing the feature in 2023.
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