Facebook has recently been refusing police organizations and children protection agencies who demand a Facebook safety ‘alert button’ for children, and is now offering free advertising to the groups to raise awareness of anti-violence campaigns. The groups are currently deciding whether or not to take the advertising, but stress that there will be no deal without the alert button.
The TimesOnline UK is reporting that the button would give users one-click access to police or other agencies to report concerns about online offending or cyber-bullying. This has surfaced as an important issue after the recent case of Peter Chapman, who used online tools to pose as a teenager online and murder a 17-year-old female. The groups have successfully installed these types of buttons on Bebo and MSN.
The NSPCC, a group dedicated to eliminating child violence, said: “If Facebook has any proposals that would make children safer, we would be happy to hear about that. But we would not be interested in anything as an alternative to the alert button.” While some groups are claiming they won’t hear anything unless there’s an alert button, Emma-Jane Cross of the BeatBullying charity said that they would accept the free advertising offer to help raise awareness and spread the anti-violence message.
Last week, Facebook met with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in Washington, and said that they were determined to “promote ‘safe interaction’ practices online” and had “invited the UK’s leading internet safety organisations to join the campaign and to share their expertise”. They also mentioned that they would be giving a significant amount of advertising space that would make sure that users got “the equivalent of a million safety messages from experts every day. The goal is to help everyone know what to do if they feel threatened”.