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.