Meta announced this week that it will begin testing an end-to-end encryption feature for Messenger. Although the feature is only available to select users who connect using either an iOS or Android device, beneficiaries will have the option to turn it on.
“The feature will enable Messenger users to store their end-to-end encrypted protected messages on third-party services. For example, iOS users will be able to use iCloud to store a secret key that gives access to backups. There will be two end-to-end encrypted options for accessing your backups: either create a PIN or generate a code, both of which you’ll need to save,” Meta said in a post on Thursday.
Meta will also test a second end-to-end encryption feature in the coming weeks, which by default provides end-to-end encryption for E2EE-protected chats between selected users.
While users in the test group will have their most frequent chats automatically encrypted with E2EE, they will still have access to their message history. However, all new messages or calls with people will use E2EE.
Meta’s decision to increase E2EE comes after it was heavily criticized for complying with a subpoena issued by police in Nebraska for use in the prosecution of a 17-year-old who had an abortion. Critics accused Meta of storing messages in cleartext.