Some 16.9 million referrals were made by US tech firms to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) last year, including 69 million images of children being abused – up 50% on the previous year.
Some 94% of the reports, which include the worst category of images, came from Facebook
the National Crime Agency (NCA) has warned the number could drop to zero if Facebook presses ahead with end-to-end encryption.
“The end-to-end encryption model that’s being proposed takes out of the game one of the most successful ways for us to identify leads, and that layers on more complexity to our investigations, our digital media, our digital forensics, our profiling of individuals and our live intelligence leads, which allow us to identify victims and safeguard them.
Beyond thrilled to finally share a sneak peek of our Facebook partnership with Ray-Ban! Our first smart glasses will launch next year, and that’s just the beginning… The future will be a classic and it’s coming in 2021 😎 pic.twitter.com/l9992ZQGoy
Critics of Facebook and Twitter — and even some people inside the companies — say dramatic action is needed to counter the way the platforms supercharge false, and sometimes dangerous, claims.
On social media, it is easy for rumors to go viral, while efforts to fact check or correct those rumors often lag behind.
Part of the reason these claims spread so widely on Facebook, in particular, is that the world’s biggest social network rewards engagement. Posts that get lots of shares, comments and likes get shown to more people, quickly amplifying their reach.
Facebook is well aware of its power to make stories go viral. As the fire rumors proliferated, the company put warnings on some posts its fact checkers had found false and reduced their distribution.
Some news organisations, including the BBC, New York Times and Buzzfeed have made their own “deepfake” videos, ostensibly to spread awareness about the techniques. Those videos, while of varying quality, have all contained clear statements that they are fake.