Mark Zuckerberg reportedly orders Facebook Messenger and Instagram teams to add end-to-end encryption

Facebook is reportedly looking to add end-to-end encryption to
both Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct chats,
according to The New York Times
. It’s part of a
plan from CEO Mark Zuckerberg to
merge the underlying messaging system across Messenger,
Instagram, and WhatsApp
so all three apps can communicate
between each other.

The move apparently comes directly from Zuckerberg, who has
ordered the company to rework the underlying infrastructure
behind all three apps into a single, unified service that will
allow users of Facebook’s three disparate messaging services to
talk to each other, even if they don’t have accounts on the
same app.

The order for end-to-end reportedly comes directly from
Zuckerberg

As part of that overhaul, Zuckerberg is reportedly ordering
that Messenger and Instagram join WhatsApp
by adding end-to-end encryption
. That means, in theory,
Facebook would no longer be able to access or investigate any
messages sent on any of its platforms (or between any of its
platforms, should the cross-platform system actually make it to
consumers). Facebook Messenger already offers a Secret
Conversations feature that’s encrypted end to end, but few
users know about it.

While Facebook wouldn’t directly confirm the planned
cross-platform merger, the company did acknowledge the fact
that it was working on adding end-to-end encryption to
The New York Times, saying, “We’re working on
making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and
considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family
across networks.”

The move would make sense as part of Facebook’s goal to merge
the messaging systems. After all, offering end-to-end
encryption on WhatsApp isn’t really that useful if that
protection gets lost when users message friends on other
platforms.

While Facebook adding more secure messaging on more platforms
is ostensibly a good thing, there could be downsides, too. Part
of WhatsApp’s prevalent disinformation issues stem from the
fact that there isn’t really a way track or moderate what
content is sent on it (as
recently seen in Brazil’s presidential election last fall
).
This led Facebook to institute a limit on how many times
messages
can now be forwarded on the platform
. It’s easy to imagine
how this sort of issue might grow more controversial if
Facebook throws its other billion-plus user platforms into the
mix.

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