Facebook Phases Out Encrypted Notification Emails Due to Low Engagement and Dated Technology
Facebook is shutting down a little-used legacy feature – encrypted notification emails, which have been around since 2015. Chances are most users had already disabled the oft-spammy alerts anyway, making them prime candidates for removal.
The emails tended to share incremental updates on likes, comments, and other activity better suited for Facebook’s actual app. Their encrypted PGP technology also felt increasingly dated.
When the encrypted emails debuted, privacy and encryption were hot on the heels of Edward Snowden’s leaks. But niche encrypted protocols don’t align with how most people communicate today.
It’s unclear precisely why Facebook pulled the plug now, but negligible user engagement plus infrastructure costs likely sealed their fate. Facebook warned users of the coming December 5 shutdown via a recent popup message.
Of course, encrypted messaging remains as vital as ever. But Facebook itself now offers opt-in end-to-end encryption for Messenger, albeit with some caveats around lost messages and limited monitoring abilities.
Truthfully, Facebook doesn’t seem fully behind its own encryption option, perhaps knowing most people prefer convenience over absolute security for casual chat. Those who do care deeply already use dedicated secure platforms like Signal or WhatsApp.
The encrypted emails occupied an awkward middle ground between standard notifications and hardcore encryption. Ditching them streamlines Facebook’s offerings, while letting devotees migrate to more robust solutions. And for everyone else blissfully unaware the emails even existed, it changes nothing.
It’s a tiny update reflective of shifting attitudes. Encryption and privacy matter more than ever, but not at the expense of user experience for most. As online communication continues evolving, expect more niche legacy holdouts like Facebook’s encrypted emails to fade into oblivion.