Facebook is “blinding itself to serious crime” with plans for stronger encryption that will help child abusers, a former counterterrorism chief said.

Sir Mark Rowley, who was assistant commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, said that the social media company’s decision to use end-to-end encryption “will make it easier for criminals to flourish on their platform”.

Sir Mark gave the warning before today’s annual meeting at which shareholders are expected to endorse Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to use end-to-end encryption by default, increasing privacy and protecting users from hackers.

It means that messages can be viewed by only the sender and receiver, which has alarmed officials who rely on Facebook to flag up criminal content.

Sir Mark writes for The Times that serious criminal activity will no


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