Facebook Adds Panic Button for Children

Earlier this year, Facebook indicated it was considering working with the UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) to add the ClickCEOP “panic button” to Facebook profile pages; today, the company has made good on that promise, with CEOP outlining an agreement that will let Facebook users in the UK put the ClickCEOP button on their homepage via an application. The deal also has Facebook displaying an automatic advertisement message on the home page of every UK Facebook user between 13 and 18 years of age inviting them to add the application to their home page. CEOP is also getting a new Facebook page out of the deal, which will display alerts and polls, as well as teen-oriented information about celebrities, exams, and music along with information about online safety.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our users, which is why we have invested so much in making Facebook one of the safest places on the internet,” said Facebook’s senior VP for the EMEA market Joanna Shields, in a statement. “There is no single silver bullet to making the Internet safer but by joining forces with CEOP we have developed a comprehensive solution which marries our expertise in technology with CEOP’s expertise in online safety.”

The ClickCEOP “panic button” is well-known in the UK, and is widely recognized by children as a way to report suspicious online activity. The panic button was introduced back in 2006 and has been widely adopted by social networking and messaging services in the UK as a way to encourage children to stay safe online, as well as provide a uniform mechanism for reporting suspicious activity and potential sexual predators.

An official presence and increased profile on Facebook should help CEOP’s online child safety campaign: CEOP had previously said that some three quarters of all reports coming to them from social networking sites originated on Facebook.

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