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How to make end-to-end encrypted calls in Facebook Messenger

On August 13, Facebook announced a number of new privacy features coming to its Messenger app, including the roll out of end-to-end encrypted voice and video calls. Here’s where you can find the new feature. 

Messenger has offered end-to-end encrypted text chats since 2016, but the feature has been missing from its voice and video calls. Now, Facebook is introducing the option to hold encrypted calls on the instant messaging app. 

“End-to-end encryption is already widely used by apps like WhatsApp to keep personal conversations safe from hackers and criminals”, explained Facebook

“It’s becoming the industry standard and works like a lock and key, where just you and the people in the chat or call have access to the conversation. The content of your messages and calls in an end-to-end encrypted conversation is protected from the moment it leaves your device to the moment it reaches the receiver’s device. This means that nobody else, including Facebook, can see or listen to what’s sent or said”. 

End-to-end call encryption works by encrypting the audio or video on your device so that only the person on the other end can access them, adding an extra layer of security to your conversations. 

While some apps offer end-to-end encryption as default, it’s important to note that Messenger is not one of those apps. If you want to start a secure chat in Messenger, you need to open up a ‘secret conversation’ with your contact. From there, you can send messages (and now begin calls) in private. 

Facebook also announced new timer controls for its Disappearing Messages feature within these secret conversations. Users can now choose from more options when creating expiring messages, from as short as five seconds to up to 24 hours. 

The company is also rolling out optional end-to-end encryption for Instagram DMs, which will be tested over the coming weeks. 

Read on to learn how to make end-to-end encrypted calls in Facebook Messenger. 

How to make end-to-end encrypted calls in Facebook Messenger

If you’re keen to start making encrypted calls in Messenger, you’ll want to check your existing secret conversations to find out if the feature is available to you. Facebook is testing it out with a limited number of users with existing chat threads over the coming weeks, meaning if you’re a stranger to Facebook’s secret conversation feature you might not get the update right away.

Facebook end-to-end encrypted calls
Image: Facebook

While Facebook hasn’t provided step-by-step instructions on how to make encrypted calls just yet, the call options in the image above look almost identical to the buttons found in regular Messenger chats. 

If the same rules apply, you should be able to simply open up a secret conversation with your friends or family by tapping their name at the top of the chat and then selecting “Go to secret conversation”. Then simply tap on the phone or camera icon in the upper right corner to begin an encrypted voice or video call. 

Hopefully, we’ll see this feature roll out to more users very soon. If you want to learn more about the benefits of encryption, you can check out our handy “what is encryption” guide. As ever, we also recommend any privacy conscious web user invest in a VPN. You can see a selection of the top scoring ones we’ve tested in our best VPN guide.

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