Facebook introduces end-to-end encryption for voice and video calls

By Anju T K, Intern Reporter
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The American social media platform Facebook is introducing end-to-end encryption for audio and video calls in its Messenger service.

The change will be rolled out alongside new restrictions for the company’s disappearing messages, according to a blog post. Some users may also notice new encryption-related test features.

End-to-end encryption for text messages was enabled to Facebook Messenger in 2016 when the company launched a secret chat option to the app. That mode now includes the ability to make phone calls. Messenger now receives more than 150 million video calls every day, according to Facebook, which claims the service is being added as interest in voice and video chats develops.

End-to-end encryption, or E2EE, is a feature of the Facebook chat software WhatsApp that prohibits anyone except the sender and receiver from reading the encrypted data. Other video calling apps, such as Zoom, Signal, and Apple’s FaceTime, follow suit.

E2EE is described by Facebook as “becoming the industry standard” across messaging systems. Previous speculations stated that Facebook would launch a single, end-to-end encrypted communications system across WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram, but this has yet to materialize.

A tiny upgrade is coming to text discussions. If you’re deleting a message, you’ll have more options for when it expires, ranging from five seconds to 24 hours. It originally offered one-minute, 15-minute, one-hour, four-hour, and 24-hour increments.

While the above changes will be visible to everyone, Facebook is testing other features in a limited way. End-to-end encrypted group chats and calls between friends and relatives who already have an existing chat thread or are already linked will be available to some users.

Others will be able to use Facebook’s non-E2EE controls over who can contact them on Messenger. Finally, if you use Instagram, a limited test will let you opt-in to E2EE for direct messaging on that app.

Related: Facebook cuts off academic researchers for scraping data from platform