For immediate release: December 7, 2023

Caitlin Seeley George


The rollout will secure the messages of millions of people across the globe

Meta has announced that Messenger messages and calls will now be end-to-end encrypted by default. This move will ensure millions of users’ messages remain between the sender and intended recipient, and will keep Meta from being able to comply with subpoenas from law enforcement who want to read your messages.

This announcement is, in part, in response to demands of dozens of rights groups and thousands of individuals who have called on Meta and other platforms to Make DMs Safe, a campaign Fight for the Future launched after Meta handed over a Nebraska teen’s Facebook messages with her mom to law enforcement, as part of a criminal investigation into possible violations of the state’s anti-abortion laws. Rights experts have raised the alarm on how, in a post-Roe U.S., unencrypted messages would be used by law enforcement to enforce draconian laws that restrict bodily autonomy. Advocates continued to pressure Meta to make Messenger end-to-end encrypted by default, and this announcement is a victory for abortion seekers, providers, and facilitators, as well as Black communities, Muslims, immigrants, and journalists who have all been targets of state surveillance.

“Meta just did something good—protected users from the company itself!” said Caitlin Seeley George (she/her), Campaigns and Managing Director at Fight for the Future. “Meta and other Big Tech companies’ business models depend on data collection and surveillance. And law enforcement agencies love to abuse these systems to expand their own surveillance. But end-to-end encryption creates a barrier that keeps the company and law enforcement from accessing your messages with friends and family. It keeps your personal messages private and keeps Meta from profiting off of them, and keeps cops from using them to target you. While some people might misguidedly claim this will endanger kids, the truth is that more surveillance is not better for anyone. End-to-end encryption makes kids-and everyone-more safe, not less safe. Now that Meta has made end-to-end encryption the default, other platforms have no excuse but to follow suit. We’ll continue to push Discord, Slack, Twitter and any online messaging platform to make end-to-end encryption the default to ensure everyone is able to communicate securely with their friends and loved ones.”

This news is a capstone to a year that showed companies are embracing end-to-end encryption. Google, Apple, and now Meta have all announced plans to expand their use of end-to-end encryption. At the same time, rights advocates have successfully helped stave off governments trying to pass anti-encryption policies across the globe.