Police have recorded between October 2019 and September 2020, the data showed 9,477 instances of sexual or indecent image offences against children. With 52 per cent taking place on Facebook-owned apps.
Data from NSPCC exposed that more than half of online child sex crimes are assigned over Facebook apps. Facebook revealed its plans before to make messaging across its app end to end encrypted like WhatsApp to boost user privacy.
NSPCC: Facebook apps used om over half of online child sex crimes
However, NSPCC claimed that Facebook’s encryption plans will leave children at greater risk and accused the social media giant of turning back the clock on children’s safety.
Police have recorded between October 2019 and September 2020, the data showed 9,477 instances of sexual or indecent image offences against children.
With 52 per cent taking place on Facebook-owned apps.
The figures showed that Instagram was used in more than a third of all instances, more than any other Facebook platform including Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The data gathered from 35 police forces in England, Wales and the Channel Islands.
The NSPCC argued that Facebook should go ahead with encryption plans. As a result, the charity has urged the government to strengthen the powers of the forthcoming Online Safety Bill to allow the proposed regulator, Ofcom. Take action against firms whose design choices could put children at risk. “Facebook is willingly turning back the clock on children’s safety by pushing ahead with end-to-end encryption despite repeated warnings that their apps will facilitate more serious abuse more often,” said Andy Burrows, NSPCC head of child safety online policy.
Andy Burrows added that exactly why [culture secretary] Oliver Dowden must introduce a true landmark Online Safety Bill that makes sure child protection is no longer a choice for tech firms and resets industry standards in favour of children. End-to-end encryption is the practice of securing communications from everyone but the participants, including the platforms hosting the conversation.
In response to the research, a Facebook company spokesperson said, “Child exploitation 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. For example, last week we announced new safety features on Instagram including preventing adults from messaging under 18s who don’t follow them.”
A spokesperson also explained 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.”