Open Letter: Facebook’s End-to-End Encryption Plans

On October 4, SMEX and many other civil society organizations shared an open letter to Facebook and other tech companies to continue increasing end-to-end security across its messaging tools and resist law enforcement calls to create backdoors or exceptional access to the content of users’ messages.

4 October 2019

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,


The organizations below write today to encourage you, in no uncertain terms, to continue increasing the end-to-end security across Facebook’s messaging services.

We have seen requests from the United States, United Kingdom, and Australian governments asking you to suspend these plans “until [Facebook] can guarantee the added privacy does not reduce public safety”. We believe they have this entirely backwards: each day that platforms do not support strong end-to-end security is another day that this data can be breached, mishandled, or otherwise obtained by powerful entities or rogue actors to exploit it.

Given the remarkable reach of Facebook’s messaging services, ensuring default end-to-end security will provide a substantial boon to worldwide communications freedom, to public safety, and to democratic values, and we urge you to proceed with your plans to encrypt messaging through Facebook products and services. We encourage you to resist calls to create so-called “backdoors” or “exceptional access” to the content of users’ messages, which will fundamentally weaken encryption and the privacy and security of all users.



Access Now

ACM US Technology Policy Committee

American Civil Liberties Union

Americans for Prosperity


Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC), Argentina

Bolo Bhi

Canadian Internet Registration Authority

Centro de Ensino e Pesquisa em Inovação (CEPI), FGV Direito SP, Brasil

Center for Democracy & Technology

Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression (CELE), Universidad de Palermo

Defending Rights & Dissent

Derechos Digitales, América Latina

Digital Rights Watch

Državljan D

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Engine – for digital rights

Fight for the Future

Free Press

Freedom of the Press Foundation

Fundación Karisma, Colombia

Future of Privacy Forum

Global Forum for Media Development

Global Partners Digital

Hiperderecho, Peru

Human Rights Watch

Index on Censorship

Instituto de Referência em Internet e Sociedade (IRIS), Brazil

Instituto de Tecnologia e Sociedade do Rio de Janeiro (ITS)

International Media Support (IMS)

Internet Society

Internet Society – Bulgaria

Internet Society UK England Chapter


ISUR, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia

IT-Political Association of Denmark

Iuridicum Remedium, z.s.

LGBT Technology Partnership

National Coalition Against Censorship

New America’s Open Technology Institute

Open Rights Group


Paradigm Initiative

PEN America

Prostasia Foundation

R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales

Ranking Digital Rights

Restore The Fourth, Inc.

Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC)

SHARE Foundation


S.T.O.P. – The Surveillance Technology Oversight Project



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SMEX is a registered Lebanese NGO that works to advance self-regulating information societies in the Middle East and North Africa.