August 12, 2010

Facebook’s Panic Button Shows Increase In Suspicious Behavior

Investigators said Thursday that the social networking site Facebook has seen a big increase in young people reporting suspicious online behavior since it introduced a "panic button" last month.

There have been 211 Facebook users that utilized the panic button since July 12, compared to 28 who reported alleged abuse through the site a month before the button's introduction.

The application hopes to prevent predatory adults from "grooming" unsuspecting young people online.  The application is advertised for Facebook users between the ages 13 to 18.

The panic button was put into place in Britain after a 33-year-old sex offender was convicted and jailed in March for the rape and murder of 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall, who he met on Facebook by pretending to be a teenage boy.

Britain's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center (CEOP) reported the findings and also provided the ClickCEOP application.

It said that a total of 55,000 people had downloaded the application.

"There is no single answer to making the internet safer but CEOP have taken a great step forward by setting up their ClickCEOP page," Joanna Shields, Facebook's vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told AFP News.

"It now means that they can have an ongoing dialogue with thousands of Facebook users, educating them about how to stay safe online in a place and language they are familiar with."


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