Meta to start fully encrypting messages on Facebook and Messenger

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows blue verification badge, Facebook and Instagram logos

(Reuters) -Meta Platforms said on Wednesday it has started to roll out end-to-end encryption for all personal chats and calls on Messenger and Facebook.

The end-to-end encryption feature will be available for use immediately, the social media giant said, but it may take some time for all Messenger accounts to be updated with default end-to-end encryption.

Messenger previously had the option to turn on end-to-end encryption, allowing a message to be read only by the sender and its recipients, but with this change messages would be encrypted by default, Meta said.

Meta, whose WhatsApp platform already encrypts messages, has said encryption can help keep users safe from hackers, fraudsters and criminals.

End-to-end encryption has been a bone of contention between companies and governments. The British government had urged Meta in September not to roll out encryption on Instagram and Facebook Messenger without safety measures to protect children from sexual abuse.

(Reporting by Akanksha Khushi and Baranjot Kaur in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler and Stephen Coates)