What you need to know
- Facebook Messenger has rolled out end-to-end encryption for voice and video calls.
- It plans to test the same security feature for group chats and calls in Messenger.
- Facebook has also updated its expiring message feature with more options for setting the time before your chat disappears.
Facebook started testing end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for voice and video calls on Messenger in late 2019, although it did not confirm at the time as to when it would publicly introduce the feature. Now, that chat mode is rolling out to more users.
The release means that anyone but you and the receiver won't be able to eavesdrop on your calls made through Messenger. Facebook has rolled out E2EE amid growing interest in voice and video calls, with more than 150 million calls on Messenger taking place every day over the past 12 months. It also comes as governments worldwide have been calling on Facebook to push back its efforts to bring the security feature to everyone over child safety issues.
E2EE has also been available for one-on-one text chats on one of the best messaging apps for Android since 2016. In addition to those types of conversation, Facebook is also planning on testing end-to-end encryption for group chats and calls in Messenger as well as Instagram Direct Messages. The test will be open to a limited number of users on both platforms if they "already have an existing chat thread or are already connected". On Instagram, however, the experiment will be optional.
The new encryption features come alongside expanded controls for its end-to-end encrypted disappearing messages. Facebook now lets you choose the amount of time, between 5 seconds and 24 hours, before your messages expire. The company will also test a new capability to filter "who can reach your chats list, who goes to your requests folder, and who can't message you at all".