Testing End-to-End Encrypted Backups and More on Messenger

People want to trust that their online conversations with friends and family are private and secure. We’re working hard to protect your personal messages and calls with end-to-end encryption by default on Messenger and Instagram. Today, we’re announcing our plans to test a new secure storage feature for backups of your end-to-end encrypted chats on Messenger, and more updates and tests to deliver the best experience on Messenger and Instagram.

Secure Storage: End-to-End Encrypted Backups on Messenger

Your message history is important and end-to-end encrypted Messenger conversations are currently stored on your device. With that in mind, we’re testing secure storage to back up those messages in case you lose your phone or want to restore your message history on a new, supported device. As with end-to-end encrypted chats, secure storage means that we won’t have access to your messages, unless you choose to report them to us.

An iPhone showing a prompt on Messenger to create a PIN for end-to-end encrypted chats.

Secure storage will be the default way to protect the history of your end-to-end encrypted conversations on Messenger, and you’ll have multiple options for restoring your messages if you choose to do so. There will be two end-to-end encrypted options for accessing your backups: either create a PIN or generate a code, both of which you’ll need to save. You can also choose to restore your Messenger conversations via third-party cloud services. For example, for iOS devices you can use iCloud to store a secret key that allows access to your backups. While this method of protecting your key is secure, it is not protected by Messenger’s end-to-end encryption.

We’re starting to test secure storage this week on Android and iOS, but this feature isn’t yet available on www.messenger.com, Messenger for desktop or chats that aren’t end-to-end encrypted.

More Updates and Tests for Your End-to-End Encrypted Messages and Calls

Over the next few weeks, we’ll begin rolling out more tests and updates on our end-to-end encrypted chats, including:

  • Expanding features and surfaces: We want you to experience the same features you love on Messenger when you are using end-to-end encrypted chats. Soon, deleted messages will sync across your other devices. We’ll also begin testing the ability to unsend messages, reply to Facebook Stories and offer other ways to access your end-to-end encrypted messages and calls. For example, we plan to bring end-to-end encrypted calls to the Calls Tab on Messenger. End-to-end encrypted chats are also going hands-free with Ray-Ban Stories (English-only). That means, if you have an existing end-to-end encrypted chat with someone, sending a hands-free message on Messenger for Ray-Ban Stories will be end-to-end encrypted.
  • Code Verify: Our new security feature, called Code Verify, is an open-source web browser extension that’s available on Chrome, FireFox and Microsoft Edge and automatically verifies the authenticity of the code when using http://www.messenger.com. This will let you confirm the effectiveness of our end-to-end encryption security by showing that your web code hasn’t been tampered with or altered.
  • Testing end-to-end encryption of chats: This week, we’ll begin testing default end-to-end encrypted chats between some people. If you’re in the test group, some of your most frequent chats may be automatically end-to-end encrypted, which means you won’t have to opt in to the feature. You’ll still have access to your message history, but any new messages or calls with that person will be end-to-end encrypted. You can still report messages to us if you think they violate our policies, and we’ll review them and take action as necessary.

iPhone screens showing Messenger chats that are end-to-end encrypted.

  • Removal of vanish mode on Messenger: There are currently two features on Messenger in which viewed messages in an end-to-end encrypted chat automatically disappear: vanish mode and disappearing messages. We’re removing vanish mode, but disappearing messages will still be available in the settings of your end-to-end encrypted chats. This mode allows everyone’s messages to disappear at a selected time after they’ve been seen. Vanish mode chats on Instagram aren’t end-to-end encrypted and will still be available.
  • Testing expanded chat features on Instagram: Last year, we started a limited test of opt-in end-to-end encrypted messages and calls on Instagram, and in February we broadened the test to include adults in Ukraine and Russia. Soon, we’ll expand the test even further to include people in more countries and add more features like group chats. The initial test was only available to adults, but this expanded test will be available to everyone. If you’re in the test group, you’ll see a prompt asking if you want to start an end-to-end encrypted chat, and a reminder of how to report messages.

We will continue to provide updates as we make progress toward the global rollout of default end-to-end encryption for personal messages and calls in 2023. Learn more by visiting  our Privacy and Safety Hub or checking out your Privacy and Safety settings on Messenger and Instagram.

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