Messenger, the instant messaging platform from Meta, just received some pretty significant updates. Two are especially noteworthy: your messages will be end-to-end encrypted by default and the Meta AI chatbot will be available on the platform to everyone in the U.S.
End-to-end encryption means that only the users in the chat can access it. No one else, including Meta, your telecom provider, internet provider, or malicious hackers, can see its content. End-to-end encryption has been available on Messenger since 2016, but you had to seek it out. Now, calls and chats will be end-to-end encrypted by default.
“This has taken years to deliver because we’ve taken our time to get this right,” said head of Messenger Loredana Crisan in a statement. She noted that Messenger has introduced other “privacy, safety, and control features along the way.”
Your chats and calls won’t lose any features by being end-to-end encrypted, so there is no need to worry about your beloved theme or anything. However, Crisan said it “may take some time for Messenger chats to be updated with default end-to-end encryption.”
Other new updates to Messenger include the ability to edit a message for up to 15 minutes after it was sent, a 24-hour disappearing messages feature, and read receipt control to toggle whether someone can tell you’ve read their messages. It has also updated how you see photos and videos in the app, with higher image quality and layout changes, and it plans to slowly introduce HD media and file sharing “in the coming months.”
While all those features are being rolled out across the platform, uses for Meta AI in Messenger are only available in the United States.
U.S. users can talk to the AI chatbot directly through Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram. As part of the update, Meta says it has “made it so you’re more likely to get a helpful response to a wider range of requests.” It has also enabled new functionality so that Meta AI can share Reels with you based on your requests, such as the best tourist destinations in Tokyo.
Meta also noted that “one of Meta AI’s most commonly used features across our messaging apps is Imagine, our text-to-image generation capability that lets you create and share images on the fly.” In response, it has added a new feature called “reimagine,” which allows you to “riff on” an AI image your friend sent you by inputting “a simple text prompt” and generating a whole new image.
Other uses for Meta AI are just in the testing phase, like helping you draft posts on Facebook and turning photos from landscape to portrait so they look better on your Stories.