Home/ News / Facebook Messenger encrypts one-on-one voice and video calls

Social media giant Facebook is adding end-to-end encryption (E2EE) to voice and video calls on its Messenger application, amid global pushback against encrypted messaging tools from governments and law enforcement agencies. WhatsApp, which is also owned by Facebook, is currently fighting a case against the government over its new Intermediary Rules (IT Rules), which require platforms to trace the first originator of a message within India.


WhatsApp has argued that trying to do so would require the company to keep an eye on its own users, and the same isn’t possible as long as E2EE remains. Facebook had added E2EE to one-on-one text chats on Messenger back in 2016 but has dragged its feet on doing so for voice and video calls so far. Unlike WhatsApp and Signal, the company makes E2EE optional, meaning users will have to manually turn the feature on in order to make communications private. 


E2EE technology ensures that only the sender and receiver of a message or call can get access to it. It negates man-in-the middle attacks where hackers place themselves between the sender and receiver to intercept messages. It also keeps governments, law enforcement agencies and even the service provider itself, like Facebook or WhatsApp, from deciphering text messages or listening to voice or video calls.


It’s worth noting that group voice and video calls remain unencrypted on Messenger, as do group text chats. The company said it will start testing E2EE on this “soon". The feature will also feature as an “opt-in" feature for direct messages on Instagram. “We’ll also kick off a limited test with adults in certain countries that lets them opt-in to end-to-end encrypted messages and calls for one-on-one conversations on Instagram," the company said in a blog post.

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Updated: 15 Aug 2021, 05:29 PM IST
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