Facebook Messenger’s ‘Dangerous’ New Update—Why You Should Be Concerned
Despite multiple warnings that Meta’s new update is a dangerous step in the wrong direction, the company announced plans to bring about end-to-end encryption to its Facebook Messenger and Instagram platforms. The plans were first announced in 2019, but have been plagued with technical challenges, meaning that the global rollout is not expected until 2023. Meta has battled regulatory policies to achieve its encryption goals. Lawmakers and security agencies called the implementation a gift to terrorists and pedophiles who may wish to use the platforms, but cannot under their current security levels. Security officials already express their inability to penetrate end-to-end encryption, which makes investigations into malicious individuals more difficult.
However, Meta recently commissioned a two-year report from Business for Social Responsibility into the human rights impacts of end-to-end encryption on its social media platforms. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the group found that the encryption enables the realization of a diverse range of human rights. Security researchers believe that although the report may be right in that we should all use end-to-end encrypted messaging apps, not all messaging apps need to be encrypted. Meta’s WhatsApp is a huge proponent of this security, and boasts 2 billion users compared to 1.3 on Messenger. Security researchers state that Meta already meets the needs advocated for by the report, with no need to inadvertently subject its users to security and safety concerns on other platforms.