A campaigner who was sexually abused as a child after being groomed online has urged Facebook to abandon plans she says will weaken protections for vulnerable people and give predators “free rein” to target youngsters.

Rhiannon-Faye McDonald cited her own experience of being preyed upon by an online abuser in an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, boss of the social media giant.

Facebook has announced plans to introduce end-to-end encryption – so messages can only be accessed and read by the sender and recipient – across the rest of its app messaging platforms by 2023, prompting concerns from campaigners that police and Facebook will not be able to flag harmful or worrying content.

But others say added security is fundamental to protecting personal data.

In her letter, Miss McDonald, who waived her right to anonymity, wrote: “Please don’t turn the lights out on your ability to detect child sex abuse. Your company employs some of the world’s brightest minds and we hope that you will harness that expertise to prioritise finding a solution that protects privacy while not putting children in danger.”

The 32-year-old told the PA news agency: “For me, end-to-end encryption is a really big concern… and I think this perspective from victims and survivors has really been missing from this debate.”

Miss McDonald was 13 when she began chatting with a sexual predator posing as a teenage girl, who later persuaded her to send a topless photograph in order to get work as a model.

Within 24 hours, the man, who said he was the girl’s boss, turned up at Miss McDonald’s family home and sexually assaulted her.

Miss McDonald did not tell anybody about what happened, but was contacted by police six months later when they were investigating crimes involving another victim.

Read the full article from the Independent on the link below:

Source: Abuse survivor fears Facebook security plan will allow predators ‘free rein’

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