Meta Should Prioritize Children, Not Child Abusers and Sex Traffickers 

NCOSE Press Statement logo

WASHINGTON, DC (May 25, 2022) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) said Meta must reassess its pursuit of expanding end-to-end encryption across its products, as the changes would make it easier for child abusers and sex traffickers to avoid detection by law enforcement. Today, Meta shareholders voted on a resolution asking the company to first issue a report “assessing the risk of increased sexual exploitation of children as the Company develops and offers additional privacy tools such as end-to-end encryption.”

“Until it is possible to move forward without further endangering children and victims of sexual abuse, Meta must first fix the many harms to children on its platforms before it continues plans to expand end-to-end encryption. Meta has a distinct responsibility to prioritize protecting children, not child abusers and sex traffickers,” said Lina Nealon, director of corporate and strategic initiatives for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

2020 data from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) showed that Meta’s platforms accounted for 20.3 million referrals of child sex abuse material (CSAM)— 94% of the total in that year. According to NCMEC, 70% of referrals by Meta platforms could be lost under end-to-end encryption, the equivalent of 14 million reports.

“Online privacy is important but it must not be wielded as a license to engage in sexual abuse of children online or to undermine the rights of children. Meta has the resources and ability to make its products safe for children. It must act responsibly,” Nealon said.

Meta is on the 2022 Dirty Dozen List of mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation. NCOSE has been pressing Meta and its other brands (e.g., Instagram) for several years to swiftly rectify the multiple avenues by which children’s health, well-being, and safety are at risk through its inherently dangerous designs before launching new products or by instituting policies that will further exacerbate harm.

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

300+

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

100+

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

93

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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