Social media giant, Facebook, on Monday said that messages on Messenger and Instagram Direct will not be end-to-end encrypted by default until “sometime in 2022″. “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. Moreover, the safety features we’ve already introduced are designed to work with end-to-end encryption, and we plan to continue building strong safety features into our services,” the company said in a blog post.
Facebook had first started rolling out encryption to its Messenger service back in 2016, but it only works when users use the Secret Conversation feature on the service. The implementation is similar to rival messaging app, Telegram, which also offers encrypted conversations through a “Secret Chats” feature. Instagram, on the other hand, has no encryption for texts sent through its direct messaging feature. Facebook had revamped Instagram’s direct messaging feature, unifying it with Messenger, last year. The company offers a “Vanish Mode” for messaging on Instagram, which deletes texts sent to each other after a fixed time period.
The social media giant has taken criticism over the years for being slow to implement end-to-end encryption by default on all of its platforms. The company also owns WhatsApp, which is the world’s largest messaging platform, and offers encryption by default to its billion plus users.
Facebook is also expected to unify the infrastructure behind the three messaging platforms—Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram Direct—eventually. This will allow users to message each other across platforms, but many users have raised questions about privacy with such an implementation.