Posted October 17, 2007 12:06 am by with 8 comments

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Three weeks ago, the New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced he was subpoenaing Facebook to learn how the social networking site dealt with users who were reported for sexually soliciting underage users. The notice came after New York conducted an undercover operation posing as teenagers on the site and reporting the illicit advances that adults made on their profiles.

Now, Facebook and the Attorney General have reached an agreement. Or, rather, as they called in at a press conference today, “a great cooperative effort that we hope the whole industry will follow.”

Appearing with the NYAG, Facebook VP and Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, said the site had “slipped a little bit” when it came to safety concerns. However,

With the new plan, Facebook will place user complaints about “nudity, pornography, harassment, (and) unwelcome contact” into a high-priority category that will require a response from the site within 24 hours. “We’re committing to a 24-hour service level on addressing those complaints,” Kelly asserted. These complaints can be filed anonymously through new links throughout Facebook’s site.

Some language on the site will also be altered to make it clear to concerned parents that neither Facebook nor any other site on the Internet is wholly safe for children.

Also, the NYAG will approve an Independent Safety and Security Examiner (ISSE). The ISSE will monitor the site for the next two years, with the reports easily accessible to Facebook users—and their parents. They’ll also provide a way for users (and parents) to provide feedback on the process.

Cuomo stated that the ISSE will be paid by Facebook. Cuomo said that his office was looking into similar actions with social sites, but wouldn’t go into details.

I assume that this means that New Jersey’s similar subpoena, filed the week after New York’s, is moot.

  • Today’s newspapers have given a very wide coverage to this development. This is indeed very welcome and should sound a warning bell to other social network sites that they should also quickly start moving in this direction.

  • I agree with Facebook: no internet site can assure to be 100% SFW.

  • I think it’s obscure for them to stress so much on Internet security for Teenagers. Either you’re really stupid to fall for that kind of stuff (in which case you shouldn’t be on the internet and should have your head in the books) OR you want to give in to such things in which case no amount of Internet Security can protect you.

  • Is Facebook living up to their promise? This is my story of how my account got terminated.

    Blog contains profanity (mostly censored) hence i will not post it up here.

  • Jordan McCollum

    Facebook never said it wouldn’t be SFW, but what they’re doing here is complying with the law. And that’s pretty much not an optional kind of thing.

    The reason why teenagers aren’t off living on their own and there are laws to prevent these kinds of actions is because most teenagers lack judgment and are too arrogant to realize it. I know I did.

    Teenagers are still minors—the same category that all other children are in—and under the law most of them haven’t fully developed their ability to even be fully accountable for their actions.

  • So why ban me for reporting sexual harassment and discrimination?

  • Jordan McCollum

    Sorry, that comment wasn’t in response to yours.

  • =) sorry… i got sensitive. haha