Meta Effectively Ends Child Sexual Abuse Investigations via End-to-End Encryption Implementation

NCOSE Press Statement logo

WASHINGTON, DC (December 7, 2023) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) said that Meta’s implementation of end-to-end encryption (E2EE) on Facebook and Messenger is a tremendous step backwards for child protection. Meta plans to implement E2EE on Instagram Direct.

“By implementing end-to-end encryption, Meta has guaranteed that child sexual abuse cannot be investigated on its platforms. Meta has enabled, fostered, and profited from child exploitation for years, and continues to be an incredibly dangerous platform as recent evidence from several Wall Street Journal investigations, child safety organization data, and whistleblower testimonies have confirmed. Yet in face of these damning revelations, Meta has done the exact opposite of what it should do to combat child sexual exploitation on its platforms. Meta has effectively thrown up its hands, saying that child sexual abuse is not its problem,” said Dawn Hawkins, CEO, National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“Meta’s ‘see no evil’ policy of E2EE without exceptions for child sexual abuse material places millions of children in grave danger. Pedophiles and predators around the globe are doubtlessly celebrating – as their crimes against kids will now be even more protected from detection.

“Meta must immediately reverse its implementation of E2EE on Facebook and Messenger, find real solutions to ensure the protection of children, and meaningfully address ways the company can combat child sexual abuse,” Hawkins said.

In 2022, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children received more than 23 million reports of child sexual abuse content online; for the same year, NCMEC said that “Meta reported more than 20 million incidents of offenders sharing these unimaginable images via Facebook and Messenger.”

Instagram is on NCOSE’s 2023 Dirty Dozen List of mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation. Meta was on the 2022 Dirty Dozen List for its negligence as a parent company – including its plans to move toward end-to-end encryption.

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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