The social network giant is moving forward with an end-to-end encryption option for its Messenger service.
Facebook announced on Friday (July 8) that it has enabled the optional encryption setting for a percentage of its 900 million Messenger user base. The end-to-end encryption technology will render messages in a conversation unreadable except by the sender and the recipient, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The company said the setting will be distributed to more users over the coming months.
“We want people to be able to use Messenger for every conversation that they want to have,” Tony Leach, Facebook Messenger product manager, explained. “In some cases, these are really fun and casual things, like sending emojis to one another. In other cases, these are really serious conversations where you need an extra layer of security.”
Back in April, Facebook announced that it was flipping the switch to default encryption settings for the more than 1 billion users of its messaging service, WhatsApp.
“The idea is simple: When you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message,” WhatsApp said in a blog post. “Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us.”
The debate over encryption escalated quickly to a global discussion over the access governmental agencies should have to the private data of citizens, fueled by the faceoff between Apple and the FBI earlier this year.
“We live in a world where more of our data is digitized than ever before. Every day, we see stories about sensitive records being improperly accessed or stolen. And if nothing is done, more of people’s digital information and communication will be vulnerable to attack in the years to come. Fortunately, end-to-end encryption protects us from these vulnerabilities,” the WhatsApp blog post continued.