FaceBook Forms Online Safety Board

FacebookThere’s no denying social networking services help people stay in touch with family and friends—and even make new friends online. But there can be a definite risk to putting personal information and details about yourself out there in public, and scammers and predators have long used social networking sites as a way to locate potential prey and victims. MySpace has for years now worked to keep child predators and sex offenders off its service; now, even Facebook is waking up to the potential hazards of social networking, announcing that it is forming a Safety Advisory Board to rework safety information available via the service, and help make sure teens, parents, and teachers have all the information and tools they need for a safe online experience.

“We believe that the only way to keep kids safe online is for everyone who wants to protect them to work together,” said Facebook’s VP for Global Communications and Public Policy Elliot Schrage, in a statement. “The formation of a board to advise specifically on safety issues is a positive, innovative, and collaborative step towards creating a more robust safety environment, and we are thrilled that such a well-respected, trusted group of organizations has joined us in this endeavor.”

The Safety Board’s initial members will be Childnet International, The Family Online Safety Institute, Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely, and WiredSafety, although additional members may be added later. The board’s first task will be revamping online safety information available in Facebook’s Help Center.

Primary safety issues for many young Facebook users include phishing—scammers looking to make kids reveal identity and payment information—and cyberbullying.

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