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Brit Cops: Facebook Too Soft on Sex Predators

UK police call for site 'panic button'
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2010 4:20 AM CDT
Brit Cops: Facebook Too Soft on Sex Predators
Law enforcement authorities warn of the dangers that lurk in the pages of Facebook.   (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick, File)

(Newser) – Facebook isn't doing enough to protect its users from online sexual predators, the UK's top police officials charged yesterday. The criticism comes amidt a dispute over an online "panic button" that would allow Facebook users to report suspected contact by pedophiles directly to authorities. Child protection advocates want the button to appear on every page of the site; Facebook insists that the link appear only after users report abuse through the site's own mechanism.

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Facebook claims that putting the button on every page could cause "additional complexity" or lead to fewer people reporting predatory activity. Facebook has, however, agreed to invest $7.7 million in education about online safety—pocket change for a company worth $14 billion, the Independent notes. British authorities say they received 253 reports of sexual predator activity on Facebook in the first quarter of 2010—only one of them reported by the Facebook team.
(Read more Facebook stories.)

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