Facebook and Its Safety Advisory Board Launch Robust New Safety Center
PALO ALTO, Calif., April 13 /PRNewswire/ — In its latest effort to build and sustain a trusted environment for its 400 million users worldwide, Facebook today launched a completely redesigned Safety Center (www.facebook.com/safety) with new resources designed to inform parents, educators, teens, and members of the law enforcement community about Facebook’s tools for staying safe while using the service. The initiative is the first major collaboration between Facebook and its global Safety Advisory Board, which it convened in December 2009.
As more people bring their social connections online, understanding best practices for staying safe on Facebook is as important as learning not to talk to strangers or rules of the road. The new Safety Center, which the company has been testing in recent weeks, is designed to meet these needs through zeroing in on the following key components:
- Robust content: four times the number of pages dedicated to safety topics than was previously available
- Interactive portal: rich multimedia content drawn from Facebook resources as well as independent organizations that seek to educate people about staying safe online
- Streamlined design: clean, navigable interface created to help people quickly find answers to important safety questions organized by topic, such as “Addressing Personal Safety” and “Responding to Objectionable Content”
Facebook worked directly with its Safety Advisory Board on the initiative. The board provided expert advice on topics to address within the Center, including defense against cyberbullying; how to report a policy violation to Facebook; and information for educators on using the service. The Safety Center also includes content for parents developed by Common Sense Media, a member of its Safety Advisory Board, on topics such as “How do I teach my teen to use the Internet wisely?” and “Can I ‘friend’ my teen on Facebook?” This comes as part of a partnership between Facebook and Common Sense Media to promote digital literacy across the Internet.
Facebook also used the European Union’s Safer Social Networking Principles, a set of recommended best practices adopted by the social networking industry in consultation with the European Commission, to inform the new design.
“There’s no single answer to making the Internet or Facebook safer,” said Elliot Schrage, Vice-President of Global Communications and Public Policy at Facebook. “That’s why we’re introducing new tools and advice for parents, educators and teens. We want our approach for improving safety to be as simple, easy and effective as our approach to improving Facebook’s user experience. Our Safety Advisory Board has been a tremendous resource in developing this next generation of safety resources and offering us ideas for new initiatives. Going forward, you’ll see even more powerful – and simpler – safety innovations coming from Facebook.”
“WiredSafety, along with our Teenangels and StopCyberbullying programs, is dedicated to providing all Internet users with the most robust safety information available,” said Parry Aftab, Executive Director of WiredSafety. “The development of Facebook’s new safety page is a positive and proactive step towards giving Facebook users the information they need to keep themselves safe online. We applaud their efforts and look forward to continued collaboration on this and other safety initiatives.”
“On the user-driven Web, safety has to be a collaboration,” said Anne Collier, Co-Director of ConnectSafely.org. “ConnectSafely is pleased to have helped develop Facebook’s new Safety Center, and we look forward to continuing efforts to engage users in helping to make the social Web a safe, enjoyable place for them and all their friends.”
“It is so important for Facebook to have clear, accessible and prominent safety advice,” said Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet International. “We are delighted to have been able to advise Facebook on the latest updates to their safety pages, and to have helped to shape the start of an ongoing process to help users understand more clearly what the rules are for their engagement and how to stay safe and keep in control in this environment.”
“Technology provides kids with new and exciting opportunities to share and communicate, but it is up to parents, educators, industry leaders, business, and policymakers to give kids clear-cut information on how to navigate both the possibilities and the perils of the digital world,” said Anne Zehren, president and COO of Common Sense Media. “We feel it’s vitally important that Facebook is stepping up to connect parents and teens around the globe with the support and education they need to make smart and responsible choices that will allow them to thrive in a world of media and technology.”
“We’re encouraged to see Facebook taking a thoughtful, proactive approach to safety on the web,” said Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute. “Education is one of the four pillars of what we do at FOSI, and we are confident that the new Safety Center on Facebook will demonstrate the progress that can be made by bringing together safety organizations and Facebook technology in a concerted effort to reach families who now use the Internet as part of their everyday lives.”
The launch of the improved Safety Center is the latest component of an aggressive global safety strategy for the company. In December, the New York Attorney General’s office brought attention to Facebook’s cooperation in identifying and disabling the accounts of registered sex offenders. In early 2008, Facebook signed an agreement with 49 Attorneys General to help protect children from online predators. Facebook also participated in the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, a group of Internet businesses, non-profit organizations, academics, and technology experts that worked together to identify effective tools and technologies to create a safer environment on the Internet for youth. In November, the company partnered with MTV on its “A Thin Line” campaign to prevent digital abuse and worked with the BBC to promote its “Bullyproof” campaign to end cyberbullying. Facebook regularly invites safety organizations like the National Crime Prevention Council to blog about safety for its users, and maintains an active campaign of safety outreach to schools and community groups. The company is also a founding member of stopcyberbullying.org, which seeks to combat cyberbullying.
The Facebook Safety Advisory Board comprises five leading Internet safety organizations from North America and Europe that serve in a consultative capacity to the company on issues related to online safety. The organizations on the board are Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely, WiredSafety, Childnet International and The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI).
Founded in February 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment. Facebook is a privately held company and is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.