Facebook was chargeable for 94% of the 69 million baby intercourse abuse pictures reported by US know-how corporations final yr.
The figures emerged as seven international locations, together with the UK, printed a press release on Sunday warning of the impression of end-to-end encryption on public security on-line.
Facebook has beforehand introduced plans to completely encrypt communications in its Messenger app, in addition to its Instagram Direct service – on prime of WhatsApp, which is already encrypted – that means nobody aside from the sender and recipient can learn or modify messages.
The social media web site stated the modifications are designed to enhance consumer privateness on all of its platforms.
But regulation enforcement companies worry the transfer could have a devastating impression on their potential to focus on paedophiles and defend youngsters on-line.
Some 16.9 million referrals have been made by US tech corporations to the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) final yr, together with 69 million pictures of kids being abused – up 50% on the earlier yr.
Some 94% of the stories, which embrace the worst class of pictures, got here from Facebook, Home Office officers stated.
Robert Jones, the NCA director chargeable for tackling baby sexual abuse, stated of the plan: “The lights exit, the door will get slammed, and we lose all of that perception. It is so simple as that.
“And nothing, we’re counting on the very best technical experience… within the UK, the identical those who maintain the UK secure in opposition to terrorists, hostile states, cyber assaults, are telling us there isn’t a viable various. I consider them. And I’m deeply involved.”
The NCA believes there are not less than 300,000 folks within the UK who pose a sexual menace to youngsters, with 86,832 UK-related referrals to NCMEC final yr, together with 52% from Facebook and 11% from Instagram.
Mr Jones stated business reporting led to the arrest of greater than 4,500 offenders and the safeguarding of round 6,000 youngsters within the UK within the yr to June 2020.
He continued: “The end-to-end encryption mannequin that is being proposed takes out of the sport probably the most profitable methods for us to establish leads, and that layers on extra complexity to our investigations, our digital media, our digital forensics, our profiling of people and our reside intelligence leads, which permit us to establish victims and safeguard them.
“What we threat shedding with these modifications is the content material, which supplies us the intelligence results in pursue these offenders and rescue these youngsters.”
Home Office officers say Facebook has not printed credible plans to guard baby security a yr on from Home Secretary Priti Patel’s open letter to the agency’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg asking it to halt its end-to-end encryption proposals.