12 April 2010 | Team Tamar

Facebook panic button meeting with CEOP in Washington

Facebook executives are set to meet with the head of a British child protection agency in Washington, to discuss the safety of the younger members of the social networking site.

Facebook has come under fire recently from the Child Explotation and Online Protection agency after Ashleigh Hall, 17, was raped and murdered by a man she met using the social networking site.

The CEOP wants Facebook to install “Panic Buttons” on every page of the networking site to allow children to easily get in touch with the correct child protection agencies, and essentially reduce the risk of such an incident happening again.

Facebook said that they welcomed the meeting and would look to implement any changes and outcomes from the meeting as soon as they could.

Initially Facebook said that they would not develop the proposed “Panic Button”, but instead, would enhance their current system as they felt the panic button could be quite invasive if placed on every main page. Instead the links to the relevant agencies would be placed on its normal reporting pages.

“If you’re going to operate a business that encourages people to frequent your public place so that you can advertise to them, then let’s look after them while they’re there,” said Mr Gamble.

Mr Gamble announced last week that they had received 252 complaints with regards to “grooming” children, and that the majority had come via email as there was currently no facility to report an issue through Facebook.

The “Panic Button” in question is already used by other websites, including Bebo. Clicking on it takes the user to a site which helps users on how to handle cyberbullying, hacking, viruses, distressing material and inappropriate sexual behaviour.

All of this has arisen after the death of Ashleigh Hall who was raped and then murdered by a man she is believed to have met through the social networking site. Facebook said it was “deeply saddened by the tragic death”, but we are still to await the outcome of the meeting to see how Facebook continues to handle privacy issues.

What do you think? Should Facebook introduce a “Panic Button” on each of the main pages on the social networking site?

Team Tamar