Facebook is rolling out end-to-end encryption for voice and video calls in its Messenger app, the company announced in a blog post on Friday.
“People expect their messaging apps to be secure and private, and with these new features, we’re giving them more control over how private they want their calls and chats to be,” Facebook stated.
This comes as Facebook saw a surge in the use of audio and video calling. The company said it handles more than 150 million video calls a day on Messenger.
End-to-end encryption is a mechanism that allows only senders and recipients of messages to read them.
It prevents messages from being intercepted or modified en route to a recipient. Not even the service provider itself — in this case, Facebook — can see the contents of the communication.
“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,” Facebook explains.
“This means that nobody else, including Facebook, can see or listen to what’s sent or said.”
The app already supports end-to-end encryption for texts when using the Secret Conversations feature, but calls have not received the same level of protection.
Cybersecurity experts have slammed Facebook for not implementing the feature across the platform and warned users to stay away.
The company has vowed to make end-to-end encryption the default across the platform but admitted the complexity of this level of protection means it could take years to achieve.
Disappearing Messages, which lets message senders choose an expiration time, has also been updated with more options for the amount of time before new messages disappear.
This can now be set to be as little as 5 seconds to as long as 24 hours.
Facebook said it was also testing end-to-end encryption for group chats and calls in Messenger, and direct messages in Instagram.
These features may be accessible to some users in the coming weeks, Facebook said.
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