October 11, 2007

Child Safety Concerns for Facebook Users

EIE President Addresses Child Safety Concerns for Facebook Users in Business Week Online

Enough Is Enough® President Donna Rice Hughes recently addressed the safety of underage users on Facebook--an online community originally tailored toward college and high school students--which recently opened its doors to all users.

In an article titled "What Facebook Could Learn from MySpace" (Business Week Online, October 5, 2007), *Business Week's* Paula Lehman sought the advice of Ms. Hughes to address ways Facebook could make its site safer for children. Ongoing investigations by law enforcement officials show that underage users have been solicited by strangers and have access to pornographic content on Facebook.

Below are some statements made by Ms. Hughes in the article:

*... "In the past year, MySpace has become more proactive in seeking solutions to protect its users, whereas Facebook, which started as a safer environment, seems to have loosened some of their policies and practices," says Donna Rice Hughes, president and chairman of Enough Is Enough®, a nonprofit organization that focuses on online safety. "They've gone in the opposite direction."*

*...Hughes points out that MySpace does not allow profiles of 14- and 15-year-olds to be searched on the site, a practice that started last year. Facebook allows all members' profiles to be searched, both on the site and on Google, except when the users opt out....*

*...MySpace has developed a team that previews all uploaded material to verify that it is not pornographic, whereas Facebook does not practice image review, according to Hughes...*

*...To cope with those pains, Facebook needs to overhaul its security, starting by appointing someone to lead the way to a safer site, Hughes says. The company ought to have its own staff devoted to taking down inappropriate content and providing a better response when children or parents report improper behavior.*

To view the entire article posted on *Business Week Online,* please click here