Social media giant Facebook established a two-year programme to explore ways to push through privacy changes ordered by CEO Mark Zuckerberg (pictured) while assuaging concerns these amendments would jeopardise the safety of children online, Financial Times (FT) reported.
The company reportedly drew criticism from politicians in the US, UK and Australia over a plan to encrypt messages sent on its Messenger and Instagram properties in addition to WhatsApp, which has always featured such protection.
Specifically, the politicians are concerned this growing use of encryption will prevent authorities investigating cases of child grooming and abuse, FT stated.
The new working group will explore means of improving security without introducing such additional risks: global head of safety Antigone Davis told the publication Facebook ultimately aimed to prevent predatory adults from contacting children, explaining it is often too late to correct the harm done once interaction is underway.
“Ultimately, you want to prevent that content from being shared in the first place, or from being created,” she told FT.
Facebook also initiated changes to the mechanisms for users to report inappropriate or illegal activity, for example enabling people to lodge a complaint when they block or remove a follower.
Zuckerberg pledged to overhaul the privacy features of Facebook’s properties in March, following a period of increased scrutiny of its data collection practice sparked by the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018.
During a talk at Georgetown University last week, the executive explained Facebook builds “specific systems to address each type of harmful content”, adding its AI systems already identify 99 per cent “of terrorist content we take down before anyone even sees it”