Meta’s choice to implement end-to-end encryption (E2EE) on Messenger and Facebook with no ability to detect child sexual exploitation is a devasting blow to child protection.
For more than a decade, Meta has chosen to aggressively detect and remove images and videos of children being sexually abused and exploited. Because of their efforts, Meta has demonstrated that Messenger and Facebook are misused by individuals sharing illegal child sexual abuse material. Alarmingly, in 2022 alone, Meta reported more than 20 million incidents of offenders sharing these unimaginable images via Facebook and Messenger.
With the default expansion of E2EE across Messenger, images of children being sexually exploited will continue to be distributed in the dark. While child victims are revictimized as images of their abuse circulate, their abusers and the people who trade the imagery will be protected.
NCMEC urges Meta to stop its roll-out until it develops the ability to detect, remove and report child sexual abuse imagery in their E2EE Messenger services.
We will never stop advocating for victims of child sexual exploitation. Every child deserves a safe childhood.
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children