Many social networks and other websites, including Facebook, have begun to ramp up their security and encryption standards as a result of the NSA revelations of 2013 and 2014. As outspoken as Facebook has been, the improvements in its security are still not enough to completely get away from spy agencies like the NSA.
According to researchers, the best way to protect any form of communication including that which is done on Facebook, is end-to-end encryption. Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan revealed on Tuesday that the social network has been working on this type of security for a long time but that it has never rolled it out because of how difficult it would be for users to take advantage of the feature.
End-to-end encryption usually requires people to manually send keys back and forth which is a process that does not fit in with Facebook’s goal of catering to the average person.
Although Sullivan’s announcement has made it clear that the social network does not plan on implementing end-to-end encryption in the near future, he says that the company will work to support and promote third-party services that do provide that feature.
There are already some third-party apps available that do add a layer of end-to-end encryption to popular communication services like Facebook Messenger and these are the types of services that Facebook would like to help out.
Sullivan brought up Pidgin, which can already be used to provide this type of encryption to Messenger. “At a minimum, we want to support third-party initiatives,” he said.
If and when end-to-end encryption becomes easier for people to implement and figure out, Facebook may very well include the feature automatically. As of right now, it sounds as though the site does have the ability to secure its services more effectively but it is holding off on doing so for the time being.
Summary: Facebook has been working on end-to-end encryption for a long time. It doesn’t plan on implementing it automatically until people fully understand how to use it. However, Facebook is supporting third-party apps that provide an extra layer of security to the site.
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