Child safety groups and prosecutors criticize encryption of Facebook and Messenger

  • December 8, 2023
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Meta submitted nearly 95% of 29m reports of child sexual abuse material in 2022 and encryption will make it harder to detect

Meta’s decision to introduce end-to-end encryption for Facebook messages will hamstring the rescue of child sex trafficking victims and the prosecution of predators, according to child safety organizations and US prosecutors.

This week, the tech giant announced it had begun rolling out automatic encryption for direct messages on its Facebook and Messenger platforms to more than 1 billion users. Under the changes, Meta will no longer have access to the contents of the messages that users send or receive unless one participant reports a message to the company. As a result, messages will not be subject to content moderation unless reported, which social media companies undertake to detect and report abusive and criminal activity. Encryption hides the contents of a message from anyone but the sender and the intended recipient by converting text and images into unreadable cyphers that are unscrambled on receipt.

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