Facebook apps were used in more than 4,000 instances of child abuse image and online sexual offences last year.
Freedom of Information requests from 32 UK police forces revealed that Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were used in child abuse image and online child sexual offences last year an average of 11 times a day.
The NSPCC says Facebook must be stopped from creating hiding places for child abuse.
Andy Burrows, NSPCC Head of Child Safety Online Policy, said: “Instead of working to protect children and make the online world they live in safer, Facebook is actively choosing to give offenders a place to hide in the shadows and risks making itself a one stop grooming shop.
“For far too long Facebook’s mantra has been to move fast and break things but these figures provide a clear snapshot of the thousands of child sex crimes that could go undetected if they push ahead with their plans unchecked.
“If Facebook fails to guarantee encryption won’t be detrimental to children’s safety, the next government must make clear they will face tough consequences from day one for breaching their Duty of Care," he added.
The NSPCC is warning that child sexual abuse will go undetected if Facebook continues with its plans to encrypt messaging on Facebook and Instagram without first putting clear safeguards in place.
The platform will no longer be able to see and report illegal content to law enforcement, and as a result, police will be left working in the dark.
The charity warns that more serious child abuse will likely take place on Facebook-owned apps as abusers won't have to move their victims off the platform to other encrypted ones to groom them.
The NSPCC's Wild West Web campaign urges the next government to impose tough regulation on big tech and are calling on supporters to sign an open letter to Facebook demanding they guarantee that children's safety won't be compromised.
The campaign calls for:
- an independent regulator who can put in place mandatory child safety rules for social networks.
- safe accounts for children.
- detailed reporting on how social networks are keeping children safe.
There have been 26 contacts to the NSPCC helpline a day on average from people concerned about child sexual exploitation and abuse.
This reached a record high of 4,735 reports from people concerned that a child is or has been sexually exploited and/or abused, a 36% increase in the first six months of 2021/22 when [...]
The Great British Bake Off team has contacted WillisPalmer to see if we know any professionals working in the children’s services sector who fancy applying to appear on the show next year.
The Bake Off, which airs on Channel 4, is asking if you have got what it takes to bake in the tent as [...]
The number of children’s homes in the private and voluntary sector has increased, while the number of local-authority run residential homes for children has decreased, the latest statistics reveal.
Ofsted’s report showed that between 1 April and 31 August 2021, there was a net increase of 69 homes representing a 3% increase from 2,707 to [...]