Facebook accused of failing to report suspected paedophiles

Facebook has not passed a single complaint about suspected paedophiles grooming vulnerable child users to police in Britain, it was claimed today.

Jim Gamble, who heads Britain's response to safeguarding youngsters online, said he has "real concerns" about the internet giant's work to protect children.



He challenged the company to reveal the evidence that its staff are working to disrupt devious criminals and bullies who lurk online.



Mr Gamble said investigators received 252 complaints about sexual grooming, bullying and hacking from Facebook users in the first three months of this year.



But the former National Crime Squad deputy director said none of these were provided by the company itself and some were passed through rival services.



His comments were the latest salvo in an increasingly bitter feud over Facebook's refusal to add a "panic" button to its site's most popular pages.



The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), wants the button, which enables users to report abuse, to be given prominent use.



Mr Gamble, who leads Ceop, is heading to a crunch meeting with Facebook bosses in Washington DC on Monday where he will call for them to break the deadlock.



Speaking in central London today, Mr Gamble said it is a "real concern" that Facebook is not passing information to police.



He said: "Facebook say their system is robust and we have no reason not to believe them. Our reports are increasing month on month.



"In the first quarter of this year we have had 252 complaints about Facebook. None of these complaints came direct from Facebook.



"If their system is so robust and they are receiving so many reports and concerns from young people, then where are they?"



Mr Gamble said the number of reports linked to Facebook is soaring, with the latest number of complaints almost equalling the 297 received in 2009.



He said the internet company is good at removing pornography and other obscene content, as it is required to do so by law in the United States.



He added: "I believe Facebook are confusing their approach to content with their approach to behaviour and that is the root of the problem.



"That is where predators will go online, engage the young and vulnerable, and lure them offline where they can abuse them.



"In many cases we are also seeing young people in the online environment being bullied to the point of suicide.



"I am meeting with Facebook in Washington DC and I will be presenting them with the facts as we see them.



"I will be asking for the evidence to show what they are doing to protect children in the UK. I have yet to see any evidence that they have passed any information to us."



Officials at Ceop receive up to 800 reports every month from internet users who suspect others of grooming, bullying, fraud and other crimes.



Of the 252 complaints about Facebook received between January and March, two out of five were linked to sexual grooming.



Senior staff at the crime-fighting organisation said they are "baffled" and "confused" at Facebook's continued reluctance to adopt the free service.



The issue was thrust into the headlines last month following the conviction of a serial rapist for the murder of schoolgirl Ashleigh Hall.



Peter Chapman posed as a young boy on the site to lure the 17-year-old to her death in Sedgefield, County Durham.



Mr Gamble said proposals to put the button on a special separate safety page were not acceptable as few would read them.



He said its prominent use would act like a burglar alarm on a house, deterring intruders from even attempting to commit a crime.



Mr Gamble said the actions of young people reporting suspicions through the button have led to paedophiles being jailed indefinitely and saved others from abduction.



In one case a paedophile pretended to be a young girl to persuade another to pose for photographs in her underwear.



Once the images were posted online the attacker used the images to blackmail his victim into more extreme acts.



Mr Gamble said the button has cross-party political support in Britain, and is backed by police chiefs and leading child and anti-bullying charities.



Speaking last month, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was expecting progress from Facebook on the panic button within days.



Mr Gamble added: "Is Facebook so arrogant that it does not matter what the collective child protection community think?"



A spokesman for Facebook said: "We take the issue of safety very seriously, and recently met the Home Secretary to discuss online safety.



"We are due to meet with Ceop next week to talk them through our safety strategy. We will wait to have this meeting prior to sharing our plans more widely with the public soon afterwards."

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Web Developer

    £30000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a Web Developer looking...

    Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache, MySQL, Moodle)

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Moodle Developer (PHP ,Linux, Apache...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior .NET Web Developer - Winform / MVC

    £21000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Award-winning pharma softw...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?