As part of a settlement with New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, social networking site Facebook has agreed to implement new protections on its service to better respond to complains of abuse, harassment, or inappropriate content, and will also open its operations to independent compliance examiner for the next two years.
Under the new terms, Facebook will response to any complaint about online harassment and abuse, or the presence of nudity or pornography on the site within 24 hours: Facebook users just need to contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Facebook has also agreed to have its compliance monitored by an Independent Safety and Security Examiner (ISSE), who will be approved by the New York Attorney General.
The settlement agreement comes a month after New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo subpoenaed documents from the social networking site as it investigated allegations of obscene content on the site and charges sex predators were using the service as a hunting ground. Facebook has consistently claimed it social networking service is safe for minors, but the New York AG found that, when posing as underage users on the site, its investigators were repeatedly solicited by adult sexual predators and could easily locate and access pornographic content.
In a statement, Facebook’s chief privacy office Chris Kelly said that privacy has always been a “core tenet” of the service, and the company plans to develop new mechanisms to enhance the online safety of its users that go beyond the terms of the agreement with the New York AG.