Facebook Messenger has been a standalone service for a few years and it allows users to exchanges messages in addition to making calls over the app. U.S. government investigators were trying to get Facebook to wiretap calls made over Messenger in connection with an investigation into the MS-13 gang. The investigators had moved a district court to hold Facebook in contempt for now allowing them to listen in on calls made over Messenger by suspects in real-time.
The case was filed in a Fresno, Calif. district court and sources have told Reuters that the judge has decided to rule in Facebook’s favor so it will not be required to wiretap Messenger calls. However, because the case remains under seal, the reasons for this ruling are not known.
Government investigators were looking into alleged gang members suspected of various crimes including murder. They needed further evidence from Facebook to prosecute 16 suspected gang members as an affidavit submitted by an FBI agent mentioned that “there is no practical method available by which law enforcement can monitor” calls made on Messenger.
It’s pertinent to mention here that Facebook Messenger doesn’t encrypt calls end-to-end which means that it’s entirely possible to listen in on them in real-time. WhatsApp extends end-to-end encryption to voice calls as well which means that the company itself can’t listen in on them.
Neither Facebook or the FBI have commented on this report.