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Facebook Introduces the “Safety Center” 13 April 2010

Posted by jannaq in Media, Trends.
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For all of its positive benefits, the Internet is still a place of questionable safety. Both from a personal and business perspective, there are large risks that a user undertakes by interacting with the platform. A threat to personal privacy, the leakage of privileged information, or the risk of identity theft all plague the Internet with daunting consequences. Social networking sites, that encourage users to reveal personal information about themselves from their location to what they’re doing over the weekend opens the door to further gambling with person safety. In an act to minimize the dangers of the social networking site, Facebook released today a revamped safety information center that will assist their 400 million users protect themselves.

Headlining the newly designed page with the words, “Facebook takes safety very seriously and strives to create an environment where everyone can connect and share comfortably,” the site strives to better provide the answers to safety questions. The new approach is simple and more straightforward, making social networking safety easier to attain. Facebook retooled the Safety Center with the goals of making it more user-friendly, offer content from safety organizations, and provide advice to specific categories of the population. This includes: parents, educators, teens, and law enforcement, as well as a general safety section. For example, under the educators section, Facebook provides academic superiors with help on how to address their students on topics such as “cyber-bullying” and properly reporting Facebook abuse. Along the same lines, for parents whose teens are facing cyberbullies, Facebook breaks its advice into four categories: accepting friends with safety in mind, using the “block” feature to stop abusive behavior, reporting abusive behavior to Facebook, and learning how to use privacy settings. The newly revamped Safety Center also goes so far as to provide law enforcement with an explanation on how to inform Facebook of registered sex offenders interacting on the platform and a mechanism for reporting potential terrorist activities.

In the wake of several disturbing cyber-bullying stories in recent news, an easier to decipher Safety Center may just be what users need to gain a better grasp on their personal safety. This is a step in the right direction, but as stories such as that of 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall who was lured to her death by serial rapist, Peter Chapman, who used the site to pose as a young boy, have many wondering whether or not this is enough. (Click here for more information on Ashleigh Hall)  As with all internet-based networking platforms, precautionary actions need to be made. Regardless of whether or not the new Safety Center sufficiently addresses the issue, educating those who are overly comfortable with over sharing and meeting internet “friends” with safety guidelines is truly an important step.

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