At Meta, our messaging apps help billions of people around the world stay connected with those who matter most to them. This scale carries potential threats from criminals and hackers, so we have a responsibility to keep people and their data safe. We share a set of principles to ensure that security is at the heart of the design of our messaging apps.
Here are our top five security principles that guide us in developing secure private messaging apps for people:
- Build secure services for everyone
- Security by design and defense in depth
- Reduce the attack surface
- Be transparent and invite critical
- Building for the future
These principles serve as reference points for private messaging design decisions and complement our broader company-wide information security practices. These principles do not stand alone, and in many cases we consider all five at once as we developing our messaging apps.
Build secure services for everyone
These services have been developed for widespread use by those who use our technologies. We strive to provide intimate, feature-rich, and easy-to-use services that provide secure messaging for billions of users, where only the intended recipients have access to end-to-end encrypted messages.
People all over the world use our messaging apps, so we strive to make them easy to use and also very secure. Some people use our apps in areas of low connectivity, use unreliable networks and infrastructure, or only access devices with limited functionality, so it’s important that our apps work effectively in those environments to keep everyone’s private messages safe.
In addition, people rightly expect control over their private communications, so we give them the opportunity to validate their security where possible. At the same time, we want to be transparent and make sure that people who use our apps can hold us accountable. Finally, we’re working hard to give people control over how they use our apps and make it easy for them to use our security tools to protect their accounts.
Security by design and defense in depth
Private messaging apps should be secure by nature. Security should be at the forefront of how we develop the services and layered in our designs – not just an afterthought.
While no system can provide absolute security, we include multiple layers of protection to maintain confidentiality and integrity. It’s also important to us to understand our apps end-to-end, which means we consider every layer of the service when building security into our products – especially points where data can be stored. We use secure-by-default frameworks when designing our apps, so security is integrated from the start. These frameworks make it more difficult to adopt insecure approaches that can inadvertently undermine security and privacy.
Reduce the attack surface
We want to minimize the chances of unauthorized access to people’s data, including by us. We are working to limit the data we collect and reduce the risk of vulnerabilities by limiting complexity in our designs.
Where we need to collect data to provide services, we anonymize or pseudonymize it where necessary. We also strive to minimize complexity for our engineers to reduce the chance of introducing bugs that could affect privacy or security.
Be transparent and invite critical
We are working to build transparency into our services and, where possible, give people the ability to validate their security. We continuously share challenges and plans and empower the wider security community to critique, develop and protect our services.
Our goal is to build transparency into our technologies. We want to give experts the opportunity to discuss our security tools and processes, share challenges and plans, and empower the wider security community to critique, develop and protect our community. We will continue to communicate directly with stakeholders on these issues through privacy expert roundtables, respond to external papers about what we do and publish our own white papers.
We also encourage and reward independent researchers for finding security vulnerabilities impacting through our bug bounty program.
Building for the future
Developing secure services is an evolution. We must build our services so that they can act quickly to remediate attacks (or other vulnerabilities), integrate new technological developments, and deal with future threats.
We want everyone who uses our messaging apps to feel comfortable and safe. By sharing the five principles that keep security first, we hope to bring transparency and clarity to our process of developing our private messaging apps, while innovating and improving our security. Our dedication to finding and solving security vulnerabilities has enabled us to support billions of people and their messages worldwide.
Learn more about our security principles
You can read more about our security principles in our white paper.