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Meta announced that it has delayed the ‘End-to-End Encrypted Messaging’ feature for Instagram and Facebook until 2023. Meta’s head of security stated that it takes more time for this feature to be good enough.
With the extra privacy already enabled on WhatsApp, you still need to start a more encrypted chat (“Secret Conversations” in Messenger) on Facebook Messenger and Instagram. In this regard, Meta, formerly Facebook, took a big step towards encryption and other privacy in 2019. However, Meta’s attempt to offer a more ‘special’ experience; It looks like it will take longer than the company initially hoped.
Antigone Davis, the company’s head of security, warned that the rollout of the default end-to-end encrypted messaging on Facebook Messenger and Instagram for The Telegraph has been delayed “to sometime in 2023”, The Guardian reports. Davis noted that the social media company originally planned to have this new venture completed by 2022, but it would take extra time to get it as accurate as possible.
It’s also possible that the delay could lead to odd timing, at least in the UK. The country plans to enact a safety law in 2023 that will require tech companies to prevent abuse and protect children. Priti Patel, the current UK Home Secretary, has no qualms about opposing the default encryption, arguing that it would “seriously” limit law enforcement’s ability to track criminals. Therefore, it may be that Meta is facing pressure to change its plans until the law comes into effect.
Davis notes that Meta will still have the power to detect abuse through a combination of unencrypted information and user reports. Delay can also give governments the time needed to reassure and avert potential conflict. In this case, it can be said that the chat encryption is not under any significant threat; however, taking longer time for this to happen may also mean that we will face more uncertainty in the future.