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Messenger’s end-to-end encrypted chats and calls are available to everyone

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You can flick a switch and turn on privacy-protecting encryption without losing features

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Messenger added end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) chatting in 2016 when it was still called Facebook Messenger, and Meta was still Facebook. Now many things have changed, but the optional feature is fully rolled out to everyone, with toggles to encrypt text messages as well as group chats and calls. Meta has discussed switching to E2EE as a default, but that may not happen until next year at the earliest, as some regulators claim this would harm public safety.

There are two ways Messenger users can opt in to the secure chats, either via vanish mode, by swiping up on an existing chat to enter one where messages automatically disappear when the window is closed or the original version that was introduced in 2016 as Secret Conversations. You can turn that on by toggling the lock icon when you start a new chat.

Image: Meta

In addition to a full rollout of the feature, Messenger has some new features to enable as well. Now, in end-to-end encrypted chats, you can use GIFs, stickers, reactions, and long-press to reply or forward messages. The encrypted chats also now support verified badges so that people can identify authentic accounts (unless it’s Elon Musk).

You can also save media exchanged in the chats, and there’s a Snapchat-style screenshot notification that will be rolling out over the next few weeks.

Image: Meta