Facebook Messenger’s Role in Increased Online Child Abuse: A Report by New York Times

Internet users are well-aware of the malicious activity that takes place on social media platforms including child abuse, harassment, terrorism and much more. According to the report released by the New York Times, social networks facilitate in increased child abuse, child pornography and sexual abuse.

The stats have shown a total of 18.4 million cases of child sexual abuse, among which 12 million were carried out from Facebook Messenger. This is an alarming situation for both Facebook and children all over the world who use Facebook daily.

Bringing the solution to this problem through technology can also worsen the situation more. Mark Zuckerberg has already given a statement regarding Facebook taking immediate actions to improve the platform’s security, however, they might not be enough.

Encrypting messages is one way to deal with this situation, however, this will provide security to both abusers and victims. Message encryption can even restrict platform owners from viewing the content.

If Facebook prefers message encryption then it means providing privacy to abusers also, which might not give any positive outcomes. However, if there is no encryption then the consequences will be a privacy disaster.


Encrypted or Unencrypted messages, both can bring their own kinds of negative effects on the security of the platform users. Right now, Facebook does not know the exact answer to combat this situation but from the stats, it is clear that combating this issue won’t be easy for the tech giant.

Facebook is working day and night to improve their encryption services with the help of sophisticated technology, devoted teams, and whatnot. Facebook is trying hard to make its platform a safe place for everyone including the children and make it clear of sexual child abuse.

In the future, Facebook might be able to improve its security levels but the question remains the same if it will have a positive effect on the stats as well. Well, it is yet to see!


Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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