Facebook Messenger could soon be taking the route followed by other popular messaging platforms such as iMessage and WhatsApp — end-to-end encryption.

A report from publication The Guardian reveals that the social networking site is considering bringing the technology to Messenger in the near future. The publication cites three sources as informants and reveals that unlike most encryption technology that is mandatory, Facebook's end-to-end encryption is anticipated to be optional.

"In the coming months, according to three people close to the project, the social media company plans to release an optional encrypted communications mode for its Messenger app, which is used by more than 900 million people," reports the publication.

For those wondering why Facebook is looking at an opt-in model for end-to-end encryption, it is likely so that the tech does not interfere with the chatbots it announced earlier in April.

Basically, the arrival of end-to-end encryption to Facebook Messenger means that only the person who is sending or receiving a particular message will be able to see the content. This system will ensure that even Facebook itself won't be able to intercept the data, which means that its Messenger chatbots won't have any way to communicate.

With the opt-in option for encryption, users of Facebook Messenger will have the alternative of using the AI chatbots if they wish so. So if a user wants to enable the encryption they would need to opt in.

This method is different from the default full end-to-end encryption Facebook implemented for WhatsApp in April. Even Apple's iMessage deploys default encryption and there is no opt-in option for users.

Interestingly, the impending messaging app from Google dubbed Allo is also poised to offer encryption as an opt-in rather than a default feature. Like Facebook's chatbots, the Allo chat app also uses AI or machine learning to suggest a reply. End-to-end encryption is essentially a pitfall for machine learning-focused applications. Therefore, like Google, Facebook is likely to take the opt-in path for encryption security.

Facebook has not yet commented on whether Messenger will get opt-in end-to-end encryption in the coming months.

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns | Flickr

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