More than 100 child protection organizations yesterday urged Facebook to halt plans for strong encryption of all its platforms, saying that would allow predators to operate freely.
The social network is working to extend end-to-end encryption across its messaging applications, including Facebook Messenger and Instagram.
The groups said they were concerned that stronger encryption of online exchanges would facilitate the sharing of child pornography.
“We urge you to recognize and accept that an increased risk of child abuse being facilitated on or by Facebook is not a reasonable trade-off to make,” the groups led by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children said in an open letter to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
“Children should not be put in harm’s way either as a result of commercial decisions or design choices.”
Rights groups have applauded Facebook’s move to stronger encryption but the governments of countries such as the United States, Britain and Australia have called on the social network to allow authorities to circumvent encryption to better fight extremism, child pornography and other crimes.
The child protection groups said they recognized users have a legitimate interest in ensuring their data is protected.