In recent years, Facebook has taken measures to curb exploitation, but they have a long way to go as the world’s most popular social networking site. It has become a top place to trade pornography and child pornography, as well as a place of prostitution and sex trafficking.
Most urgently, we are concerned about Facebook’s plans and efforts to roll out sweeping encryption which would aid child abusers and sex traffickers from detection and accountability by law enforcement.
In 2019, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that they planned to pursue planned end-to-end encryption for Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
When billions of people use a service to connect, some of them are going to misuse it for truly terrible things like child exploitation, terrorism, and extortion. We have a responsibility to work with law enforcement and to help prevent these wherever we can. We are working to improve our ability to identify and stop bad actors across our apps by detecting patterns of activity or through other means, even when we can’t see the content of the messages, and we will continue to invest in this work. But we face an inherent tradeoff because we will never find all of the potential harm we do today when our security systems can see the messages themselves.
This means that Facebook is knowingly accepting that crimes, including child sexual abuse, will increase on Facebook as a result of their encryption policy.
In response to this threat to public safety, law enforcement leaders from America, the United Kingdom, and Australia have sent Facebook an open letter publicly opposing Facebook’s actions.
In 2018, media reports note that Facebook reported 16.8 million instances of child sexual exploitation and abuse on their platform to the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The tragic reality is that if these reports are not sent, millions of children will be at risk by their abusers.
As stated by Cyrus R Vance, District Attorney for New York County, “Simply put, Facebook’s planned end-to-end encryption will make it harder to detect – and stop – child abuse and similar crimes… A world in which children can be recruited and groomed on Facebook – with no hope of law enforcement intervention – is a world in which we, collectively, are failing our children.”
Email Facebook Executives
Report suspected child pornography and other exploitive content to the proper authorities. Please do not seek to police the site on your own, but if you stumble across such content, please consider these steps:
Protect Your Home
- Monitor your children’s use of the Internet and especially of social media platforms. Regularly have conversations with them about possible content they might encounter and about Internet safety.
- Use tools! Use built-in parental controls where possible; install filter and accountability software on connected devices; etc.
- Make sure your friends and family are aware of the dangers on Facebook and take action to protect against them. Encourage their involvement of these efforts to hold Facebook accountable for better enforcement of their policies.
- Visit our Parents Resource Center for more tips and updates!
Share your STORY
Personal stories help elected and business leaders to see the grave harm associated with this material and can be very helpful in getting them to change their policies. All will be shared anonymously. Please email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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