Complete Story


Why It Took Meta 7 Years to Turn on End-to-end Encryption for All Chats

WIRED goes behind the scenes of the company’s colossal effort to get it right

Since 2016, the social behemoth now known as Meta has been working to deploy end-to-end encryption in its communication apps. CEO Mark Zuckerberg even promised in 2019 that the data privacy protection would roll out by default across all of the company's chat apps. In practice, though, it was a wildly ambitious goal fraught with technical and political challenges, and Meta has only been able to move toward it in gradual, incremental steps. But this week the company is finally starting its full rollout.

"It's been a wild ride," said Jon Millican, a software engineer within Meta's messenger privacy team. "I suspect this is the first time something’s been end-to-end encrypted with all of the constraints that we're working with. It's not just that we’re migrating people's data; it's actually that we're having to fundamentally change a bunch of the assumptions that they work with when they're using the product."

Meta has had to stake out a position as a committed proponent of end-to-end encryption amid pressure from law enforcement and victim advocacy groups that the privacy feature—which makes data unintelligible everywhere except on the devices of the sender and recipient—limits necessary oversight and impedes crucial police investigations.

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

Printer-Friendly Version