Mark Zuckerberg’s social media empire has been under pressure to abandon its encryption plans, which the UK home secretary, Priti Patel, has described as “simply not acceptable”.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has said private messaging is the “frontline of child sexual abuse online” because it prevents law enforcement, and tech platforms, from seeing messages by ensuring that only the sender and recipient can view their content – a process known as end-to-end encryption.
The NSPCC’s head of child safety online policy, Andy Burrows, welcomed Meta’s move. “Facebook is right not to proceed with end-to-end encryption until it has a proper plan to prevent child abuse going undetected on its platforms,” he said.
“But they should only go ahead with these measures when they can demonstrate they have the technology in place that will ensure children will be at no greater risk of abuse.”