SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 7 — Meta Platforms will start fully encrypting messages on Facebook and Instagram by default, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The social-media giant this week will begin automatically shifting Facebook users to end-to-end encryption for their messages, rolling out the change over the course of weeks, the WSJ reported.

Direct messages on Instagram also will shift to such encryption by default somewhat later, likely in the New Year, the report said.

Meta did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment on the report.

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The change means that Facebook and Instagram users would not have to turn on the encryption feature, which allows a message to be read only by the sender and its recipients.

Meta, whose WhatsApp platform already encrypts messages, has said encryption can help keep users safe from hackers, fraudsters and criminals.

End-to-end encryption has been a bone of contention between companies and governments. The British government had urged Meta back in September not to roll out encryption on Instagram and Facebook Messenger without safety measures to protect children from sexual abuse. — Reuters

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