Meta says there will be no end-to-end encryption for Facebook and Instagram messages until 2023

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WhatsApp users may enjoy the benefits of end-to-end encryption, but the same cannot be said of messages sent via Facebook or Instagram. What's more, this is not going to be changing any time soon.

While Meta (or Facebook as it was at the time) previously announced plans to introduce encrypted messaging to the Facebook and Instagram platforms, there was heavy criticism from campaigners and organizations for child safety. Now the company has said end-to-end encryption will not be arriving until 2023.

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Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Antigone Davis -- Global Head of Safety at Meta -- says that the introduction of encryption will happen around a year later than previously planned. Acknowledging that there is a great to consider when balancing security, privacy and safety, she says: "We'll continue engaging with outside experts and developing effective solutions to combat abuse because our work in this area is never done".

She continues:

We're taking our time to get this right and we don't plan to finish the global rollout of end-to-end encryption by default across all our messaging services until sometime in 2023. As a company that connects billions of people around the world and has built industry-leading technology, we're determined to protect people's private communications and keep people safe online.

Davis says that even when messages are end-to-end encrypted, it is still possible for Meta to provide valuable data to law enforcement agencies when required:

Even with billions of people already benefiting from end-to-end encryption, there is more data than ever for the police to use to investigate and prosecute criminals, including phone numbers, email addresses, and location data. In Europol's most recent annual survey of police and judicial authorities, 85 per cent of those surveyed said this was the kind of data that was most often needed in investigations.

As we roll out end-to-end encryption we will use a combination of non-encrypted data across our apps, account information and reports from users to keep them safe in a privacy-protected way while assisting public safety efforts. This kind of work already enables us to make vital reports to child safety authorities from WhatsApp.

She concludes: "Our recent review of some historic cases showed that we would still have been able to provide critical information to the authorities, even if those services had been end-to-end encrypted. While no systems are perfect, this shows that we can continue to stop criminals and support law enforcement".

Image credit: Sergei Elagin / Shutterstock

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