More than half of the online child sex crimes took place on Facebook
More than half of the online child sex crimes took place on Facebook-owned apps, as per the data from the NSPCC. Previously, Facebook has revealed plans to make messages end-to-end encrypted like its other apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp. The reason for end-to-end encryption is to boost user privacy. The stats showed that Instagram was used more often than any other Facebook platform. Instagram was used in more than one-third of all criminal cases followed by Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The data on sex abuse was recorded from 35 police forces in England, Wales and the Channel Islands. The data of NSPCC includes 9,477 incidents of sexual offences against children between the months of October 2019 and September 2020.
But the children’s organization argued that these stats that were gathered through Freedom of Information requests to the police show that the tech giant’s encryption plans will leave children at greater risk and accused of turning back the clock on children’s safety against the criminals. The NSPCC said the data it received showed 9,477 incidents of sexual offences against children were recorded by police between October 2019 and September 2020 whereas 52% taking place only on Facebook-owned applications. Fortunately, the children organization has urged the Government to strengthen the powers of the online safety bill to allow taking action against the children’s criminals.
“If legislation is going to deliver meaningful change it needs to be strengthened to decisively tackle abuse in private messaging, one of the biggest threats to children online.” Last month, a senior official at the National Crime Agency said Facebook’s encryption plan “poses an existential threat to child protection”.
End-to-end encryption of Facebook:
End-to-end encryption is the practice of securing information from everyone. The protection even includes the platforms hosting the information. A Facebook spokesperson responded to this saying that child abuse has no place on our platforms and we will continue to lead the industry in developing new ways to prevent, detect and respond to abuse. End-to-end encryption’s feature of social media platforms risks blinding social media and law enforcement to these crimes. The tech companies must put public safety first.
Further, the spokesperson added that last week we announced new safety features on Instagram including preventing adults from messaging under 18s who don’t follow them.“End-to-end encryption is already the leading security technology used by many services to keep people, including children, safe from having their private information hacked and stolen. Its full rollout on our messaging services is a long-term project and we are building strong safety measures into our plans.”
A Government spokesperson and official of Facebook in the US said that their online safety bill will bring protection to children. Moreover, it also ensures that there is no space for criminals to hide on social media platforms especially on Facebook. The burden on social media companies is increasing to prove that they’re doing all they can do to keep children safe. Additionally, they will not be able to use encryption as an excuse for not taking actions.