Facebook has long touted its messaging encryption plan as the wave of the future for user privacy. However, child safety advocacy groups have begun to raise concerns that this feature will actually offer predators a place to hide.
This week, a group of 129 child protection organizations, led by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, wrote a letter to Facebook urging the social media giant to reconsider its plans. And the reasons for their concern are valid; Facebook’s platform is often used as an exchange for cybercriminals, including those seeking to exploit children.
“At a time when we could be looking to build upon years of sophisticated initiatives, Facebook instead seems inclined to blindfold itself,” the letter said. “We urge you to recognize and accept that an increased risk of child abuse being facilitated on or by Facebook is not a reasonable trade-off to make… Children should not be put in harm’s way either as a result of commercial decisions or design choices.”
For its part, Facebook said that it will still have methods to catch child predators even behind the wall of encryption. But as usual, the company finds itself in a no-win situation. It may be offering users stronger privacy protections, but some of those users may be the worst kind of people.
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