Although Facebook is continuing to work on the feature for its messaging clients, neither app will be encrypted until 2022. The announcement came as part of a broader workshop held to discuss the future of private communication. Facebook highlights its recent “Vanish Mode” feature as a way to promote privacy when using its chat apps, but without end-to-end encryption, it’s lagging behind most of the competition. Google added encryption to RCS back in December, while the continued success of Signal and Telegram displays a growing awareness about privacy among general consumers.
Facebook does say that any already-existing safeguards in both Messenger and Instagram Direct will work with encryption once it launches, with additional “strong safety features” also planned for its services. Of course, that won’t help anyone who’s been holding out hope that either app would gain a big boost in privacy this year.