FACEBOOK is putting kids at risk of grooming gangs by making messages secret, it is claimed today.
Its plans for end-to-end encryption will stop cops trawling direct messaging services to hunt down offenders.
Tech firms claim the move, which means only a person sending or receiving a message sees it, protects against hackers.
Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield says more than a third of kids have had online messages that make them feel uncomfortable.
In a report, she says that millions of eight-year-olds use messaging apps banned for under-13s and almost one in ten has used social media to chat to strangers.
She said threats to safety were “increasing” and urged PM Boris Johnson to honour a vow to bring in an online duty of care, with fines for firms failing to protect kids.
She added: “It’s time for the Government to stand up to the powerful internet giants, who are such a big part in our children’s lives.”
NSPCC child safety chief Andy Burrows, added: “Rolling out end-to-end encryption without mitigations for finding grooming and abuse is one of the riskiest steps a tech firm could take when it comes to children’s safety.”
WhatsApp — bought in 2014 by Facebook — has used end-to-end encryption since 2016.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg plans to use the system across all of his firm’s messaging apps.
A spokesman said Facebook has “led the industry in developing new ways to prevent, detect, and respond to abuse”.
GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Read Full Article