Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Facebook tries to head off safety complaints

Monday, Facebook executives were taking flak from British child protection officials who want them to embed their Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center's "panic button" on all British Facebook pages.

This morning, Facebook is rolling out what it's calling a major overhaul of its online Safety center, including a quadrupling of the safety content available and cleaner, easier-to-navigate interfaces.

A coincidence? We think not. Good enough? We'll see what the Brits say. They've been hounding Facebook in the wake of last month's sentencing of a 33-year-old British serial sex offender who murdered a 17-year-old girl after befriending her by posing as an attractive teenage boy on Facebook.

The British child protection center contends such cases might be avoided if Facebook would embed the center's "panic button" on the pages of all British users, allowing children who feel threatened to notify authorities with one click. They said it'd also serve as a visual reminder to criminals that authorities are always within easy reach. Facebook, in a meeting Monday with the agency, declined to embed the button, saying its safety system is already comprehensive and robust.

The button does show up in the new Safety Center -- in its "Safety for Teens" section.

"It's not just about a button," Facebook official Richard Allen told Sky News. "There need to be a safety net, and each Web site does it in the way that works for them."

Let's hope the way that works for Facebook is the right one.


Anonymous said...

I can see this button being abused not stop.

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