Priti Patel: ‘Social media giants must take tougher action to stop child abuse online’

Priti Patel says 'broken system' encourages illegal migration

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And the Home Secretary warned that moves to increase encryption would be unacceptable. Facebook wants to scramble content on all its apps, including Messenger and Instagram. It means only the sender and recipient can see exchanges – guarding against hackers but giving criminals free rein.

Ms Patel told experts at an online meeting: “I made it very clear tech companies have a moral duty to act to protect our children online. They cannot turn a blind eye to the abhorrent crimes taking place on their platforms.”

But Jim Killock, of the Open Rights Group, warned of a surveillance state and said users want “protection from fraud, scams and abuse of their data”.

However, the NSPCC, which organised the meeting, said children are vulnerable.

Andy Burrows, for the charity, said: “Children are one in five of the internet users in the UK.

“It would be irresponsible for Facebook or any other platform to rush into encryption before…making sure it really is safe.”

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