Facebook is adding end-to-end encryption for voice and video calls in Messenger. The company announced in a blog post that it’s rolling out the change today alongside new controls for its disappearing messages. Some users may also see new test features related to encryption.
Facebook Messenger got end-to-end encryption for text messages in 2016, when Facebook added a “secret conversation” option to its app. Now, that mode also supports calling. Facebook says it’s adding the feature as interest in voice and video calls grows, saying Messenger now sees more than 150 million video calls a day.
Facebook chat app WhatsApp already offered calling with end-to-end encryption or E2EE, which prevents anyone but a sender and receiver from seeing the encrypted data. So do some other video calling apps like Zoom, Signal, and Apple’s FaceTime. Facebook characterizes E2EE as “becoming the industry standard” across messaging services. Earlier rumors have suggested that Facebook might roll out a unified, end-to-end encrypted messaging system across WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram — but so far, that hasn’t happened.
Text conversations are getting a smaller update. If you’re setting a message to disappear, you’ll see more options for picking when it expired, from between five seconds and 24 hours. (It originally offered one-minute, 15-minute, one-hour, four-hour, and 24-hour increments.)
While everyone will see the updates above, Facebook is running a limited beta test of other features. Some users will see an option for end-to-end encrypted group chats and calls between “friends and family that already have an existing chat thread or are already connected.” Others will get support for Facebook’s existing non-E2EE controls over who can reach them on Messenger. And finally, if you use Instagram, a “limited test” will offer opt-in E2EE for that app’s direct messages as well.