Facebook is expanding the option to turn on end-to-end encryption on voice and video calls.
Facebook has started to roll out end-to-end encrypted voice and video calls on Messenger, and updated controls for disappearing messages. The new features will give users more control over how private they want their calls and chats to be.
Furthermore, Facebook will start testing end-to-end encryption for group chats, including voice and video calls, though these initial tests will be run on friends and family that already have an existing chat thread or are already connected.
In the coming weeks, some people will get access to more test features within encrypted chats, features that will give people greater control over the privacy and security in their conversations.
In the same announcement, Facebook also says it has updated controls over Disappearing Messages within end-to-end encrypted chats. The timer controls present in the expiring messages feature will now allow users more choice when deciding the amount of time they want their message to stick around on the chat before it disappears, with new options of 5 seconds duration to as long as 24 hours.
Delivery controls will also be tested to work with end-to-end encrypted chats: what Facebook is aiming for is to allow more control over who can interact with you, reach your chats list, who goes to your requests folder, and who can’t message you at all.
Finally, Facebook is also working on opt-in end-to-end encryption for messages and calls on Instagram. It will kick off a limited test with adults in certain countries who will have the option to encrypt their DMs for one-on-one conversations on Instagram. Here too, Facebook will begin testing the new security feature on existing chats or on conversations between users who already follow each other.
Messenger has only offered end-to-end encryption in one-on-one text chats since 2016, when Facebook added a “secret conversation” option. But with the surge in audio and video calls over the past year, upping usage to more than 150 million video calls per day, Facebook is now extending the option to voice and video calls on Messenger.
The encryption technology, which is already widely used on WhatsApp to keep personal conversations safe from hackers and criminals, is now becoming industry standard. Video calling apps like Zoom, Signal, and Apple’s FaceTime already secure conversations with their apps with the same technology.
It works like a lock and key, securing exclusive access to the chat or call to just the users participating in it. The content of the conversion becomes protected from the moment it leaves each device, meaning that nobody else, including Facebook, can see or listen to what’s sent or said.