Here's Why You Shouldn't Have Sensitive Convos or Files on Facebook Messenger
If you're someone who uses Facebook Messenger to keep your best friend up-to-date with your life's most important secrets or if you use the app to "save" important and sensitive files by sending them to yourself, you might want to reconsider.
An article on Forbes written by Zak Doffman reminds avid users that the free messaging app is actually lacking an important security feature, one that reportedly won't be added until 2022 at the earliest: end-to-end encryption.
Why is end-to-end encryption important?
End-to-end encryption is a system that allows messages to be read only by the sender and its intended receiver. Internet service providers and even the platforms used to send these messages won't be able to access the content of the message.
Because Messenger currently does not support end-to-end encryption by default, Doffman points out that the app and even third parties can access the contents of the messages being sent using the platform. On a similar strand, the recently popular platform Notion also does not have this type of encryption.
Will Messenger ever implement end-to-end encryption?
Yes, Facebook does have plans of adding this important security feature to Messenger and all the other platforms it owns (currently, only WhatsApp is known to be end-to-end encrypted). The implementation of end-to-end encryption for Messenger, however, might not happen until 2023 or later.
According to a report by WIRED, Facebook engineers say this feature is a challenging task to take on because they would have to rebuild Messenger's existing structure, which would take years to fully accomplish. They also point out an important difference between WhatsApp and Messenger and why it was relatively easier to add end-to-end encryption to the former: WhatsApp does not support multiple devices and has no need to backup messages on a server, while Messenger does.
By default, Messenger isn't end-to-end encrypted, but it does carry the feature which you can activate when creating a new group and tapping the lock slider on the top right corner of your screen. You have to manually enable this feature if you want to use it to send a friend an end-to-end encrypted message.
What's the update on Messenger's end-to-end encryption?
In August, Messenger made an update to end-to-end encrypted chats by giving the option for voice and video calls. Currently, the messaging platform is also testing end-to-end encryption for group chats, as well as for Instagram direct messages. Read Messenger's statement below.
We’ll begin testing end-to-end encryption for group chats, including voice and video calls, for friends and family that already have an existing chat thread or are already connected. We’ll also begin a test for your delivery controls to work with your end-to-end encrypted chats. That way, you can prevent unwanted interactions by deciding who can reach your chats list, who goes to your requests folder, and who can’t message you at all.