Facebook is implementing its new end-to-end encryption policy for messages across all of its messaging services. The company announced its plan in an overview of its recent virtual workshop held with experts in privacy, safety, human rights, and consumer protection.
According to Facebook, it is bringing end-to-end encryption for messages as a way to protect users’ private messages. “While we expect to make more progress on default end-to-end encryption for Messenger and Instagram Direct this year, it’s a long-term project and we won’t be fully end-to-end encrypted until sometime in 2022 at the earliest," the company added.
However, various concerns have been raised by some authorities in regard to Facebook’s plan. The most significant concern is that this privacy method can be used to hide criminal activity, as it can prevent authorities from tracking illegal exchanges.
Facebook announced the plan for the first time in March 2019. According to the platform’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, "End-to-end encryption is an important tool in developing a privacy-focused social network. It is an increasingly important part of our online lives, from banking to healthcare services."
Representatives from the UK, US, and Australia had written an open letter to Facebook in October 2019, urging the company to quit its end-to-end encryption plans. The letter argued that the policy would put citizens and societies at risk by destroying the capacity to detect and take action against illegal content and activity, like child sexual exploitation and abuse, and terrorism.
Moreover, the initial purpose behind this initiative was to expand the use of messaging in new ways, like funds transfers and eCommerce, which is part of Facebook's broader efforts to make its messaging services the key connector in regions like India and Indonesia, where digital adoption is on the rise.