Facebook Messenger has morphed into much more than a standalone app for chatting with your friends. It’s a robust platform which offers a wide variety of features. Naturally, security for users is of paramount important, and it appears that Facebook sees some room for improvement. According to a report, Facebook is looking into ways to make Messenger more secure for its users.
The Guardian reports that Facebook is thinking about adding end-to-end encryption to Messenger, an app used by more than 900 million people across the globe. It adds that the end-to-end encryption feature will be disabled by default so users will have to opt-in for it.
Messenger won’t be the first messaging service in Facebook’s portfolio to get end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp, a popular cross-platform messaging service that Facebook acquired a few years ago, recently flipped the switch on end-to-end encryption for all of its users.
The reason why Facebook might disable this feature by default is because of its own ambitions for the Messenger platform. It offers machine learning features which rely on user data to improve, but if encryption is enabled, Facebook won’t be able to access user data like messages.
For users, this would mean having to pick sides. If they want improved security they better be willing to live without some of the most powerful features that Messenger offers. If they want those features that they will have to compromise a bit on their privacy.
This stance is similar to that of Google’s new Allo messaging application which also features opt-in end-to-end encryption, something that makes Edward Snowden look at Allo very suspiciously.