The New Facebook Panic Button

FacebookAlthough we haven’t found confirmation on Facebook’s site (more to follow if/when that changes), Reuters reported yesterday that Facebook is introducing a Panic Button, in response to a big push by the UK’s Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre.

The button, especially aimed at helping minors under the age or 18, will allow young Facebook users to report threatening behavior and get help. According the Reuters article:

The application… will appear on their profile page when they add or bookmark the button, CEOP said. “We know from speaking to offenders that a visible deterrent could protect young people online,” said Jim Gamble, chief executive of CEOP, adding that the button should provide reassurance to parents whose teenagers use the site.

The lone quote from Facebook on the new development:

“Together we have developed a new way of helping young people stay safe online,” Joanna Shields, Facebook’s vice president for Europe, Middle-East and Africa, said of the link-up.

As long as Facebook welcomes young users, as it currently does, making it as easy as possible for them to report anything that seems threatening is a great idea. The fact that Facebook makes no particularly effective effort in preventing minors under the age of 13 from joining makes this doubly so.

Stay tuned for new developments as they occur.


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One Reply to “The New Facebook Panic Button”

  1. Good info! I think they may be looking at this technology as a foreshadow of letting preteens on which could lead to litigation perhaps a preemptive strike by Facebook now that Congress is looking at raising the age from 13 to 15. I think that will trigger “enough is enough”.

    Parents should be the ultimate guide here. Hopefully kids won’t abuse this like what is thought to happen with young teens flagging each other for being 12 when they aren’t as a revenge method.

    Couple notes:

    Facebook can’t really make an effort to prevent preteens. Their hands are pretty much tied by the law and this is a side effect of COPPA that is bad. Law says if you’re a general site then you can’t go poking around because that will give you actual knowledge of kid’s ages. Facebook has the best rat-out program on the net and they are very responsive to reports but again see above as far as what do you do with a middle school teen that looks younger than 13 but is older? Curse for some 8th grade boys indeed.

    Second, Facebook told us at a FOSI conference that they have algorithms that already track creepy behavior. If an adult “Likes” too many kids in an out of bound ratio (gender/age) then they are already flagged. I think this is creep for Facebook and I can’t wait to see how this info falls in to the wrong hands when there’s a data breach at a social media company.

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