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Facebook is handing out extremely controversial Messenger trick to some users – check your app

FACEBOOK is rolling out a controversial feature to more Messenger users which can help boost privacy.

It’s called encryption and isn’t entirely new, but it has become a hot topic in recent months as the UK seeks to change the laws over its use.


When encryption is enabled on messaging apps, it is much more difficult for hackers and app providers to read personal informationCredit: Alamy

A number of countries, including India, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the US and the UK called to have end-to-end encryption banned in 2020.

The UK first introduced the idea of putting a stop to encryption in 2015 under former Conservative prime minister David Cameron.

But the Online Safety Bill making its way through Parliament currently has reignited that effort.

The Bill is trying to give tech companies oversight and more access of encrypted messages.

Campaigners fear this could infringe privacy and pose cybersecurity risks.

Facebook has been trying to introduce the feature to users for a few years now through its beta program – where only a handful of randomly selected users get to trial it.

Meta, the company which owns Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, said people who will receive the beta feature will be notified in individual chat threads.

WhatsApp and other messaging apps like Telegram use end-to-end encryption.

But there are a few pros and cons of the feature that tech users should be aware of.


End-to-end encryption (E2EE) for messaging means the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook cannot read what is said or access the data that is exchanged.

It is the ultimate feature for private communications and makes data inaccessible to hackers.

When encryption is enabled on messaging apps, it is much more difficult for hackers and app providers to read personal information.

With the current laws in the UK, using end-to-end encryption can help you to avoid government surveillance.

However, this is where the biggest concern lies.


The most controversial issue with E2EE is that by completely locking out third parties from viewing messages, it becomes an issue for police and government intelligence agencies.

Law enforcement and intelligence officers who may need access to a specific string of messages under E2EE are currently locked out.

In the UK, evidence that may be in messages that have been encrypted cannot be accessed by anyone, even for legal or national security purposes.

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The only way law enforcement and intelligence officers can get hold of messages behind E2EE is if the device is unlocked or the owner is participating in the investigation.

This is the reason behind so many governments across the world wanting to put an end to the feature.

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