End-to-End Encryption Will Be on by Default in Facebook Messenger messengernews.fb.com

Dan Milmo, reporting for the Guardian in 2021:

The head of safety at Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, announced that the encryption process would take place in 2023. The company had previously said the change would happen in 2022 at the earliest.

Loredana Crisan, vice president of Messenger, yesterday:

Today I’m delighted to announce that we are rolling out default end-to-end encryption for personal messages and calls on Messenger and Facebook, and a suite of new features that let you further control your messaging experience. We take our responsibility to protect your messages seriously and we’re thrilled that after years of investment and testing, we’re able to launch a safer, more secure and private service.

This news comes days after Meta announced it would separate the previously intertwined chat features of Messenger and Instagram. The company did not say why, leading some to speculate it was for E.U. regulatory compliance reasons.

Instagram and Messenger already have optional end-to-end encryption. Notably, Meta specifically says the default will be coming to Facebook and Messenger; “Instagram” is not mentioned anywhere in this announcement. It is only if you look toward the bottom of the engineering blog post that Meta says “additional testing” for end-to-end encryption in Instagram messaging is planned for “the next year”. In a Wired story, Lily Hay Newman reports “it will take some time for the rollout of full default end-to-end encryption to reach all Messenger and Instagram chat users”.

Kim Zetter says on Twitter that Meta briefed journalists last week about this news — which was supposed to be revealed tomorrow — at approximately the same time Joan Donovan filed a complaint against Harvard. Donovan claims the school forced her out after she tried to make public documents leaked by Frances Haugen. Shortly thereafter, the Chan Zuckerberg initiative pledged $500 million to Harvard around the same time and, Donovan alleges, that in part led to her eventual dismissal.