Facebook clarifies panic button issue

Darren Allan

March 19, 2010

The Facebook and CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre) panic button story has taken another twist today.

If you were reading Techwatch yesterday, you might have seen our story about the social networking site being criticised for not incorporating the CEOP panic button.

If you’ve missed this story, the panic feature is a highly visible button that allows a child to click and directly report any offensive or inappropriate material to CEOP.

After Facebook had a meeting with the Home Secretary, the government declared that the site had “no objection in principle” to installing the button.

This was taken to mean that Facebook had bowed to pressure over the affair. However, the site has clarified its intentions today.

In actual fact, Facebook is saying that it is considering adopting the panic button, but it will be placed in the safety centre section of the site, and not on every page as CEOP would like.

As The Register points out, Facebook believes the button wouldn’t be a positive step forward, as it could be detrimental in giving parents a false sense of security that the site is perfectly safe. Which isn’t the case, CEOP button or no CEOP button.

The issue will be discussed further at a meeting between Facebook and CEOP in America next month.

However, it would seem that the social networking site isn’t for budging when it comes to the issue of having the panic button installed site-wide.


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