Facebook at risk of becoming ‘one-stop child grooming shop’ if it encrypts messages, NSPCC warns.

FACEBOOK risks becoming a “one-stop child grooming shop” if it encrypts its messaging services, the NSPCC warns.

The social media giant is considering bringing in the secure texting software on its site and Instagram Direct.

 Facebook is at risk of becoming a 'one-stop child grooming shop' if it encrypts its message service, the NSPCC has warned

Facebook is at risk of becoming a 'one-stop child grooming shop' if it encrypts its message service, the NSPCC has warnedCredit: AFP or licensors

But kids’ charity NSPCC said it could stop offenders being caught.

Out of 9,259 detected cases of online child sexual offences and abuse images, just over 4,000 were on Facebook, Instagram and Whats­App, which it also owns and is already encrypted.

Of these, 22 per cent were on Instagram, 19 per cent on Facebook — but only three per cent on WhatsApp.

The NSPCC said it highlights the difficulty of uncovering crimes on encrypted platforms.

The charity’s Andy Burrows said: “Facebook is actively choosing to give offenders a place to hide in the shadows and risks making itself a one-stop grooming shop.”

It wants measures such as no encrypted messages to or from kids’ accounts.

Facebook said: “We’re consulting with experts on the best ways to implement safety measures before fully implementing end-to-end encryption.”

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