Facebook on Friday announced the encryption of voice and video calls made on its Messenger texting app.
Encryption of the text chats on Messenger has remained an option since 2016 while the number of audio or video calls made on Messenger has increased since then to more than 150 million daily.
This has prompted Facebook to add the option of “scrambling exchanges from one end to the other to prevent snooping.”
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Messenger director of product management Ruth Kricheli said in a post, “ The content of your messages and calls in an end-to-end encrypted conversation is protected from the moment it leaves your device to the moment it reaches the receiver’s device. This means that nobody else, including Facebook, can see or listen to what’s sent or said.” “People expect their messaging apps to be secure and private.”
End-to-end encryption is widely used by apps including Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
Facebook disclosed that it is testing encrypting group chats and calls on Messenger as well as direct messages at its image-centric Instagram social network.
“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,” Kricheli said.
The recent announcement by Apple that it would scan encrypted messages for evidence of child sexual abuse has revived debate on online encryption and privacy which has also raised fears the same technology could be used for government surveillance.
The move remains a major shift for the company which until recently resisted efforts to weaken its encryption that prevents third parties from seeing private messages. (AW)