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Facebook Installs ''Panic Button,'' May Come to US

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 19 comments

Facebook has teamed up with Britain's CEOP to promote a "panic button" for minors on the UK portal.

Monday the UK portal of Facebook will receive a "panic button" for British users aged 13 to 18-years-old. The "button" comes after many months of negotiations with the UK's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center (CEOP), and will allow minors to report criminal activity such as "grooming, "sexual behavior, cyber-bullying, hacking, and more. However the new tool won't send up flares or nuke offending accounts--the tool will merely link to places where reports can be made, and to important internet safety messages.

When asked why Facebook finally caved in to the pressures of the British authorities, Stephen Beard said that the decision was related to a rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl last October. "She was killed by a 33-year-old sex offender who she'd met on Facebook. He'd been posing as a teenager," he said. "So now Facebook has agreed to this new panic button for young British Facebook users. If they're worried about cyber-bullying or that they're being stalked, they can click on a link to a British law enforcement agency and report their suspicions."

There was also talk that the virtual "panic button" will head to the States. "One analyst I was talking to this morning said he thinks it will, that eventually Facebook will install a direct reporting link to the U.S.'s national center for missing and exploited children. But there are many skeptics out there who say actually the best way to curb this kind of abuse, bullying and stalking and so on is for Facebook itself to become a lot more vigilant about the people it allows onto its site."

According to the Huffington Post, the "panic button" will be optional, and Facebook will not be required to install it by default or display the tool on each page. Instead, Facebook will donate advertising to promote the jointly-created application and display it on every UK teen's home page. Although the CEOP will have a presence on the social networking site, apparently Facebook will continue on with its internal reporting system.

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    blurr91 , July 12, 2010 11:15 PM
    Any chance that this "panic button" might be mis-used?
  • 14 Hide
    Humans think , July 12, 2010 11:10 PM
    A minor alert for the rest should also be helpful!

    You are talking to Tania, no age specified. A pop-up comes out

    "Tania is a minor, in certain countries the use of sexual innuendos is considered a felony"

    -bb Tania got to go

    Also I believe that the panic button should be in the main interface, not an app.
  • 10 Hide
    mr_tuel , July 12, 2010 11:41 PM
    Kids do stupid stuff. Some unfortunately die because of stupid stuff. I've lost many friends because of stupid stuff. It is a fact of life. This button won't change that.
Other Comments
    Display all 19 comments.
  • 14 Hide
    Humans think , July 12, 2010 11:10 PM
    A minor alert for the rest should also be helpful!

    You are talking to Tania, no age specified. A pop-up comes out

    "Tania is a minor, in certain countries the use of sexual innuendos is considered a felony"

    -bb Tania got to go

    Also I believe that the panic button should be in the main interface, not an app.
  • 19 Hide
    blurr91 , July 12, 2010 11:15 PM
    Any chance that this "panic button" might be mis-used?
  • 5 Hide
    killerclick , July 12, 2010 11:17 PM
    They can already block any user that bothers them, I guess this button is simply a link to where they can report it.
  • 5 Hide
    Humans think , July 12, 2010 11:21 PM
    blurr91Any chance that this "panic button" might be mis-used?


    Lots:
    1) overuse/flooding: will lead to late response
    2) revenge/set-ups: payback time!
    3) punish the weirdo: You are sick!

    but none the less it is helpful, a friend of mine had a stalker calling her and we called the police and they said that they need a court order to first monitor and then they could give us his phone number. So having a "loaded-gun" in a button comes in handy.
  • 10 Hide
    mr_tuel , July 12, 2010 11:41 PM
    Kids do stupid stuff. Some unfortunately die because of stupid stuff. I've lost many friends because of stupid stuff. It is a fact of life. This button won't change that.
  • 4 Hide
    alextheawesome , July 12, 2010 11:42 PM
    Why is she talking to a complete stranger, imposing as a teenager or not, anyways?
  • 2 Hide
    victomofreality , July 12, 2010 11:58 PM
    this seems like a waste to me I can't understand where the benifits actually will come in.
  • 5 Hide
    someguynamedmatt , July 13, 2010 12:05 AM
    Tuel, I couldn't have said it better. And this button, no matter what they say about it, will cause more problems than it solves. If there are 'kids' we're talking about here, how long do you think it will take before the waves of people start reporting each other to the authorities because they don't like each other in real life? What a waste of the 'authorities'... Oh, it's alright if there are drug dealers and criminals out the wazoo on the streets, we just don't want people abusing each other in the internet. Morons.
    Quote:
    That is a downright horrible thing to say.

    No. That's life. I must just be ignorant or something, but no matter what anyone says, I can't wait until the day when something happens that make people have to learn to defend themselves and not be so stupid that they try to set themselves up with an absolutely random person they found on the internet. It isn't Facebook's fault, nor is a button going to help.

    Quote:
    So having a "loaded-gun" in a button comes in handy.

    Well, if that's the case, then millions of 'children' all over the UK will be shooting at each other. I remember how it was, how there were always people you absolutely hated and wanted something bad to happen to... now, all the kids on Facebook will have a way they think can make this happen.

    No matter what they try to do about it, there isn't anything that will help other than completely tearing down Facebook. I don't know what they're thinking is causing the deaths; it's not like these people are being forced into doing something... it's not physically possible to drag someone to your house through the Ethernet cable hooked to your PC. They're doing it on their own free will, and there lies the problem.

    Sorry about the speach... Just my $0.02+tax on the subject.

  • 0 Hide
    freename , July 13, 2010 12:34 AM
    If someone is posing as a teenager, as mentioned in the main article, how is the targeted teen going to know to push the panic button?

    It will only help if they know the person is dodgy and if they already know that, wtf is a panic button going to do?
  • 1 Hide
    ithurtswhenipee , July 13, 2010 12:55 AM
    blurr91Any chance that this "panic button" might be mis-used?

    From the story it seems as thought all the button does is give the pusher links to reporting agencies. The pusher would still need to do the actual reporting. So really all this does is bypass Google.uk for those who are going to report and don't know where to do it.
  • 0 Hide
    JonathanDeane , July 13, 2010 2:22 AM
    What would be nice is if the app would send a IM with details about the purp so that they could do a little more investigation on the person (after all I can see this thing being abused by bad people too, so a real investigation would need to be carried out.) logs would be nice too if Facebook would turn them over in cases where the police obtained a warrant.
  • 0 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , July 13, 2010 5:42 AM
    ANY website where you can stream your webcam should have this. FB isn't one of them, but it should have it, too.
  • 0 Hide
    shaun_shaun , July 13, 2010 7:21 AM
    this FACEBOOK thing is overrated just like iphone !!!! what is facebook ???
  • 0 Hide
    WyomingKnott , July 13, 2010 1:04 PM
    "Grooming?" Must be a term I don't know - combing my hair doesn't seem to threaten minors.
    Seriously, can someone fill me in on what that refers to, if only because I have an online teenage daughter?
  • 2 Hide
    Camikazi , July 13, 2010 1:47 PM
    WyomingKnott"Grooming?" Must be a term I don't know - combing my hair doesn't seem to threaten minors. Seriously, can someone fill me in on what that refers to, if only because I have an online teenage daughter?

    Child grooming is a somewhat euphemistic term for the development of a relationship with a child by an adult for the purpose of engaging in sexual activities with the child. The "groomer" is sometimes refered to as a "chickenhawk".

    In addition to acts which by themselves are legal, sexual grooming may include acts such as showing pornography to the child, perhaps even child pornography. The pornography may be used to arouse the child, as an example of what the adult desires or to give the child the impression that the depicted acts are normal or common.

    One form of grooming is "Internet grooming" or "online grooming", that is, nurturing an Internet friendship, usually by means of online chat, which may later result in "real life" contact. In 2003 MSN Chat was restricted to better protect children from what they called "inappropriate communication". Yahoo! and the New York State attorney general’s office agreed in October 2005 that Yahoo! will remove and bar user-created chat rooms with names that promoted sex between minors and adults [1]. That's from http://www.experiencefestival.com/a/Child_grooming/id/1964581
  • 0 Hide
    WyomingKnott , July 13, 2010 2:19 PM
    Camikazi:
    A) Thanks for the info
    B) Uggh.
  • 1 Hide
    zaznet , July 13, 2010 4:40 PM
    Seems it is like adding a bookmark to each kids browser to a page where they can report stuff.

    The page has always been there, kids that don't report suspect activity are fooled by the perps and won't use the panic button.

    Without capturing data, emails, chat that is ongoing from Facebook and sending those to the agency this is nothing more than a link to yet another web page.
  • 0 Hide
    ksampanna , July 13, 2010 7:55 PM
    The law enforcers better anticipate millions of hoaxes now
  • 0 Hide
    omnimodis78 , July 13, 2010 8:31 PM
    Humans thinkLots:1) none the less it is helpful, a friend of mine had a stalker calling her and we called the police and they said that they need a court order to first monitor and then they could give us his phone number. So having a "loaded-gun" in a button comes in handy.

    What does a telephone stalker have anything to do with Facebook? Unless by 'calling' you meant via Facebook which is ridiculous because she could have blocked him/her.
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