Facebook Messenger calls to get support for end-to-end encryption

Facebook Messenger calls are finally getting end-to-end encryption for voice and video calls. The new function begins rolling out today, according to a Facebook blog post. However, the company is calling the end-to-end encryption an “option” for video calls, meaning it won’t be turned on by default. 

Facebook Messenger calls to get support for end-to-end encryption

“You can make an audio or video call end-to-end encrypted by opting-in to one of our end-to-end encrypted chat threads,” a company spokesperson said. “You’ll need to be in one of those threads first and then you can make a call that will be end-to-end encrypted.”

For example, a Facebook-supplied picture seems to show the encrypted video chat becomes available after you enter into a text-based end-to-end encrypted “Secret Conversation” with someone on Messenger.

The end-to-end encryption means Facebook itself can’t view or listen to video or voice calls made over the chat app. The company merely acts as a conduit to facilitate the encrypted data between devices. 

Facebook Messenger calls to get support for end-to-end encryption

You can already find end-to-end encryption for both video calls and chats on WhatsApp, which Facebook also owns. The social network has been working to bring the same security technology to Facebook Messenger, which got end-to-end encryption for text-based chats through the optional Secret Conversation function in 2016.

In the same blog post, the social network says it’s preparing to test end-to-end encryption for group voice and video chats on Facebook Messenger.

Facebook Messenger calls to get support for end-to-end encryption

In addition, Facebook is also testing the encryption on Instagram direct messages. “We’ll also kick off a limited test with adults in certain countries that lets them opt-in to end-to-end encrypted messages and calls for one-on-one conversations on Instagram,” the blog post adds. “Similar to how Messenger works today, you need to have an existing chat or be following each other to start an end-to-end encrypted DM.”  

The company’s goal is to eventually make end-to-end encryption the default standard across WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. But it doesn’t expect to complete the project until some time next year at the earliest.

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