Today, Meta has unveiled what it calls "the biggest set of improvements to Messenger since it was first launched in 2011." First and foremost, end-to-end encryption is now a default for private chats and calls on Messenger and Facebook, meaning your secured communication can't be spied on by others — not even by Meta itself, apparently. Once updated, Messenger will ask users to set up a PIN, in case they need to recover messages on a new device later. The global rollout may take a few months to complete, due to the fact that the app has over a billion users.
End-to-end encryption became an option for Messenger in 2016, but Meta is obviously stepping up its safety efforts — a sensible move given the company's other recent scandals, especially with child predation content. Meta added that "this has taken years to deliver because we’ve taken our time to get this right," and also "to rebuild Messenger features from the ground up."
In addition to a set of new privacy, safety and control features, Messenger is getting improved image quality for photos and videos. Meta says it's currently testing HD media sharing with a small test group, before rolling this out "in the coming months." Messenger is also receiving other handy tools that are seemingly inspired by WhatsApp, namely message edit (for up to 15 minutes after sending), voice message playback speed options, continued voice message playback outside the chat or app, read receipts control and disappearing messages (after 24 hours; this is now available to all chats since end-to-end encryption has become a default).