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STATEMENT: Facebook’s move to full encryption means millions of child sexual abuse and exploitation cases will cease to be reported

For Immediate Release

Millions of reports by Meta that drive Canadian and international law enforcement responses against child sexual abuse and exploitation will soon cease to exist as the company announced its final rollout of end-to-end encryption across all their messaging services.

Under legal requirement, Meta has forwarded 74.4 million reports of suspected child sexual abuse and exploitation to the U.S. National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) since 2020. Up to this point, these reports have triggered and fed into tens of thousands of luring, grooming, and sextortion investigations by local police in communities across Canada and abroad.

This decision by Meta means it will lose its ability to effectively monitor these crimes unfolding across large swaths of their platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. The company’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, was the first to acknowledge this.

“[…] we face an inherent tradeoff because we will never find all of the potential harm we do today when our security systems can see the messages themselves,” he originally wrote in an announcement about this coming change.

NCMEC, which processes Meta’s child exploitation reports, has estimated these actions could cause as much as 70% of all reportable cases on its services to go undetected.

This move toward a less transparent platform is one that benefits Meta, who — through this choice— effectively exempts itself from its moral duty to ensure a product it commercializes does not cause harm. If Meta views these obligations as costly line items on a balance sheet, it certainly is not how those with the responsibility to protect children in society see it.

We urge Meta to halt its plan to make harmful and illegal content on its platforms beyond the reach of accountability.

We call on civil society organizations, policy makers, and governments to make it clear Meta’s reckless decision puts the most vulnerable members of the public, our children, at significant risk.


Media contact:
1 (204) 560-0723

About the Canadian Centre for Child Protection: The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) is a national charity dedicated to the personal safety of all children. The organization’s goal is to reduce the sexual abuse and exploitation of children through programs, services, and resources for Canadian families, educators, child-serving organizations, law enforcement, and other parties. C3P also operates, Canada’s national tipline to report child sexual abuse and exploitation on the internet, and Project Arachnid, a web platform designed to detect known images of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the clear and dark web and issue removal notices to industry.

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