Facebook has long touted its proposed end-to-end encryption feature as a huge step forward for user privacy. However, many advocates and officials have expressed concern that it could provide cover to child abusers, too. That might be part of the reason why Facebook has joined forces with Google, Microsoft and Twitter to create a five-pronged plan to “eradicate” child sexual abuse on the internet.
The group of companies, called the Technology Coalition, originally formed in 2006 to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) online. However, the coalition admitted that much has changed since its founding date, and an update to its approach was needed to keep up with cybercriminals.
“The number of people online — more than 4.5 billion in 2020 — has added to the challenge of keeping the internet a safe place,” the Technology Coalition said in a statement. “As a result, the technological tools for detecting and reporting CSEA content have become more sophisticated, but so too have the forms of abuse we seek to prevent and eradicate.”
The updated goals for the coalition include holding an annual forum with law enforcement officials, funding independent research into child exploitation trends, sharing knowledge and investing in more innovative tech. These may seem like obvious steps to take, but at least Facebook is committed to addressing this criminal behavior on its platform. If the company follows through with its encryption plans, it will need to step up in a big way to make sure its security measures aren’t being used by all the wrong people.
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