Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Bebo introduce CEOP reporting button to protect children from Internet abuse.

Bebo, the social networking site which has a strong following among children and the younger teens, have introduced button which appears automatically under users' profile pictures, for users to log abuse directly to CEOP [the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre]. Clicking on the tool, opens a window inviting victims to log "violations of Bebo's terms of service" – including bullying, hate speech and sexually explicit content.

This is quite a radical step for a social networking site to take as it marks a move away from self-regulation, to reliance on the Government multi-agency system run by CEOP.

Facebook adopts a different approach, as outlined in their safety section, which is to investigate any complaints themselves. Their site maintains that "Facebook is solely responsible for complaint handling" although they do provide a link for users to contact the Independent Safety and Security Examiner (ISSE) regarding Facebook's complaint handling procedures.

There is pressure on Facebook and MySpace to follow Bebo's lead, but there are inevitably multi-jurisdictional issues here, which make this a much more complicated question than it first appears.

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