Feeds

Child protection campaigners claim hollow victory over Facebook

Optional 'panic button' agreed

High performance access to file storage

Child safety campaigners are claiming victory over Facebook in their battle to publish a "panic button" on the dominant social network, but the agreed system falls short of their original demands in one crucial aspect.

Today's announcement ends a rancorous campaign spearheaded by Jim Gamble, the chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), which is responsible for policing paedophiles on the internet.

Under the deal, Facebook will offer young users the option of adding a "ClickCEOP" app on their home page, much as they are able to install the FarmVille or Mafia Wars games if they choose. It's the optional nature of this new "panic button" that makes suggestions that the site has bowed to the campaign wrong.

Facebook's position is substantially the same as it was more than six months since Gamble first went public with his demands. It was happy to include CEOP links in its safety pages, and would very likely have allowed CEOP to publish an app, as it does thousands of other developers.

Meanwhile the pair's joint statement this morning shows CEOP has been forced to drop its insistence that the "panic button" be published on every young person's profile page - the sticking point of the protracted talks.

CEOP has extracted one concession that will give it an advantage over the myriad other optional apps competing for teens' attention on Facebook. The launch will be accompanied by automatic adverts to all users aged 13 to 18 years old, encouraging them to add it to their profiles.

Nevertheless, on balance the victory is Facebook's. It faced down media attacks by Gamble suggesting that by refusing to publish the "panic button" across its site it was "arrogant". He questioned whether it wanted to be "the website of choice for bullies, for dangerous individuals, for rapists and murderers".

It held its postion even when summoned by the Home Secretary over the issue, amid tabloid anger surrounding the murder of 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall by a man she met online. Alan Johnson felt compelled to ignore the fact that Hall had also contacted her killer via MSN, which does publish CEOP's button to all users.

Mark Zuckerberg's meeting with David Cameron last week, and Facebook's generally closer links to the coalition (its European policy chief Richard Allan is a close friend of Nick Clegg and had just been ennobled), suggest such antagonistic relations with government are unlikely in future.

Gamble today sought to draw a line under his row with the firm. "Our dialogue with Facebook about adopting the ClickCEOP button is well documented – today however is a good day for child protection," he said.

"By adding this application, Facebook users will have direct access to all the services that sit behind our ClickCEOP button which should provide reassurance to every parent with teenagers on the site,"

The "button" is a link to a CEOP site carrying information for various online threats to children, from bullying to sexual abuse.

Also apparently placated by the optional CEOP app are Facebook's press critics. The Sun, which launched a series of attacks on on the site over its resistance to Gamble's demands, today sounds a flat note as it trumpets its alleged triumph. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.