Facebook launches panic button

2010-07-12 14:26
London - Social networking website Facebook has agreed to adopt a panic button aimed at improving the online safety of its younger users, a child protection group said on Monday.

The launch of button, which follows a long campaign by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), will allow children and teenagers to report suspicious behaviour and get help, advice and support about staying safe online.

The application is particularly aimed at users aged 13 to 18 and will appear on their profile page when they add or bookmark the button, CEOP said. "We know from speaking to offenders that a visible deterrent could protect young people online," said Jim Gamble, chief executive of CEOP, adding that the button should provide reassurance to parents whose teenagers use the site.

Pressure to introduce such measures intensified towards the end of last year after 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a man posing as a teenager whom she had met through Facebook.

"Together we have developed a new way of helping young people stay safe online," Joanna Shields, Facebook's vice president for Europe, Middle-East and Africa, said of the link-up.

"It is only through the constant and concerted efforts of the industry, police, parents and young people themselves that we can all keep safe online."

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