Facebook forms global Safety Advisory Board

Ronny Kerr · December 7, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/c3a

Base coalition of safety organizations coalesce to create a safe environment on the Web for users

safetyWith Facebook hitting a membership milestone of 350 million users last week, the possibility that users could have brush-ups with unsafe situations online only continues to grow.

Acknowledging this fact, Facebook announced Sunday night the creation of a global Safety Advisory Board, composed of different groups based in North America and Europe, to consult the social networking site on problems and solutions related to online safety. Though now the board is composed of just five members-- Childnet International, The Family Online Safety Institute, Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely and WiredSafety--Facebook foresees that other organizations could become new members as the need for expansion arises.

"Improving safety online is a group effort," explained Richard Allan, Facebook's director of European public policy. "It requires diligence from everyone who's online or on Facebook—whether by reporting abusive behavior or making sure your account and passwords are secure. At Facebook, we think about our role the same way. We must work with a diverse set of experts and organizations devoted to online safety in order to bring you the best safety resources on Facebook."

The first project of the new Safety Advisory Board will be to revise and update the Facebook Help Center to clarify which resources are available to different users with different needs (Facebook says its current focus is on parents, students, and teachers).

This is not a new direction for the massive social networking site. As Allan reiterates in the announcement, Facebook has partnered with both MTV and BBC to get the word out on digital abuse and cyberbullying. Additionally, Facebook recently took steps to identify and disable the accounts of registered sex offenders.

The new Safety Advisory Board, under the wing of Facebook, could potentially play a very large role in handling online safety issues across the spectrum.

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