Facebook has launched a new £5m online campaign to better protect its 23 million British users and to give them greater control over their safety online.
Improved functionality includes a redesigned abuse reporting system, enabling users to report unwanted or suspicious contact directly to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and other leading safety and child protection organisations.
A £5 million investment in education and awareness will see the site providing leading safety organisations with one billon advertising impressions over the next two years to help them to raise awareness and educate the millions of Britons who rely on Facebook every day on how to stay safe online.
Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety (CHIS) and the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) will be included in the group of organisations using Facebook to communicate important information about online protection.
The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) new ‘Click Clever, Click Safe’ campaign, CEOP, the NSPCC and BeatBullying have also been invited to participate.
Facebook is also calling on the government to consider new ways in which information about registered sex offenders can be securely shared with social networks.
The model, which has been widely deployed by the US States Attorney Generals, has effectively removed dangerous individuals from access to such services.
“The investments and partnerships we’ve announced today -- in direct reporting, in education and awareness, and in greater support for law enforcement -- will transform social networking safety and security,” ,” said Vice-President of Global Communications and Public Policy at Facebook, Elliot Schrage.
“They represent the most comprehensive public/private safety initiative since social networking began in the UK almost a decade ago.”
He continued, "There is no single answer to making the Internet or Facebook safer. That’s why we’re approaching this in so many different ways. Our announcement today outlines critical components of our global safety strategy”.
The new programme has been welcomed by a number of leading child protection organisations.
“A co-ordinated approach providing the additional reporting to CEOP is clearly worthwhile, as is a dedicated phone line for law enforcement,” said Independent Child Protection Expert, Mark Williams-Thomas.
“I firmly believe that education is key to keeping children and young people safe online and social networking sites need to show a commitment to work with both statutory and voluntary organisation to promote safety on the Internet.”
CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, Stephen Balkam, added that the moves were “encouraging.”
“We are confident that the new Safety Centre on Facebook, as well as Facebook’s investment in raising online safety awareness, will demonstrate the progress that can be made by bringing together safety organizations and Facebook technology in a concerted effort to reach families who now use the Internet as part of their everyday lives,” he added.
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