DecryptedTech

Saturday04 February 2023

Meta works to add security to messenger that should have been there


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Metabook has announced some new security features in their messenger app and platform. Many of these are items that competing SMS/MMS applications and services already have, but Meta knows that they need are now facing some solid competition, so they are finally getting around to these. Of course, this does not mean that people are going to flow back to Meta Messenger. None the less, it is good to see these show up.

The first item on the list is end-to-end encryption group chats and calls. Facebook has long stated that individual messages are encrypted end-to-end, but when it came to group messages it was not able to make that promise. Now they have brought that feature out and it is enabled in the app. How this will play out with their commitment to monitor messages and posts for “misinformation” or other activity remains to be seen.

Next up is a notification if someone takes a screenshot of a disappearing message. The concept of disappearing messages is simple and one that many other services offer. It allows you to send a message and specify a time limit for it. Once the time limit is reach, it gets deleted. Prior to the new update someone could take a screenshot of your message and save it even though it was set to disappear.
This notification was already present in their “vanish” mode, Meta just added it to disappearing messages as well. To me I would like to see a prevent screenshot option, but maybe that is asking too much.

End-to-end encrypted messages and calls is not enabled by default (another odd choice), you do have to go in and turn it on for each new conversation. Why this is not a default option is something of a mystery to me. You would think that Meta would want to ensure that all messages are protected and not just the ones that someone remembers to enable. This type of omission is just another reason (among many) why some have lost trust in Meta.

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