Facebook turns 'blind eye' to child abuse, claims security minister
Facebook owner Meta turns ‘blind eye’ to child sexual abuse, claims security minister Tom Tugendhat
- Tom Tugendhat said Facebook was a ‘one stop shop’ for child sexual predators
- It comes as Meta is set to encrypt private messages on Facebook and Instagram
Facebook owner Meta is ‘turning a blind eye’ to an epidemic of child sexual abuse across its platforms, the security minister has warned.
Tom Tugendhat launched a scathing attack on the tech giant yesterday over its decision to encrypt private messages which he said would ‘allow predators to operate with impunity’ on Facebook and Instagram.
With law enforcement no longer able to spot or collect evidence of grooming, tens of thousands of children in the UK and around the world would be put at danger of exploitation, he warned.
Singling out Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, the Tory MP said: ‘Companies like Meta enjoy vast power and influence over our lives. With that power should come responsibility.
‘It’s not acceptable for tech executives to make vast profits from their youngest users, only to pass the buck when it comes to protecting them from the dangers on their own platform create.’
Facebook owner Meta is ‘turning a blind eye’ to an epidemic of child sexual abuse across its platforms, the security minister has warned
Tom Tugendhat (pictured) launched a scathing attack on the tech giant yesterday over its decision to encrypt private messages
He added that social media sites like Facebook – which accounts for two thirds of the 32 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation in the US – were a ‘one-stop shop’ for predators.
Vowing the government ‘will not look away’, he announced the Home Office was about to launch another major publicity campaign against the decision to introduce end-to-end encryption on Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct.
Meta has been planning to introduce the security feature – which stops other people reading users private messages – since 2019, claiming it will keep Britons safe from hackers and fraudsters.
But the government fears it will weaken the ability of law enforcement to uncover paedophiles, who often lurk and prey on in such spaces, as they won’t be able to find them or compile the required evidence to put them behind bars.
Mr Tugendhat highlighted how Meta had previously helped the National Crime Agency catch David Wilson, one of the most prolific child sexual abuse offenders the UK had ever seen.
Posing as a teenage girl on Facebook, Wilson had manipulated his victims into sending sexually explicit material of themselves – before using it to blackmail them into abusing their friends and siblings.
Singling out Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg (pictured), the Tory MP said: ‘Companies like Meta enjoy vast power and influence over our lives. With that power should come responsibility’
In 2021, he was brought to justice after the detectives were were able to access the evidence contained in over 250,000 Facebook messages.
In a speech at the Policing Institute for the Eastern Region’s (PIER) ) annual conference yesterday, Mr Tugendhat said their cooperation had been a ‘lifeline’ for victims – but this was now ‘under threat’.
He said there was technology available that could still protect users’ messages while also keeping those youngest on the platform safe – but ‘Meta are just not choosing to’.
In response, Meta said it remained committed to rolling out end-to-end encryption, which has been delayed due to technical issues and regulatory pressures, working with both law enforcement and child safety experts in doing so.
A spokesman said: ‘We don’t think people want us reading their private messages so have developed safety measures that prevent, detect and allow us to take action against this heinous abuse, while maintaining online privacy and security.’
Source: Read Full Article