Facebook reveals policy to tackle bullying and defends publication of beheadings footage
Social media site works with organisations including Childline and Parentzone to limit online bullying
Ian Burrell is Assistant Editor and Media Editor at The Independent, i paper and Independent on Sunday. He covers news from the whole media sector from television, press, radio and advertising to technology. His weekly column on the media appears every Monday in The Independent and i paper. He also writes on media, music and culture, including long-form pieces for The Independent’s Saturday magazine and the Independent on Sunday’s magazine, New Review. He is a regular presenter of BBC Radio 4’s What The Papers Say and a specialist commentator to Monocle 24 radio. He has contributed to most major broadcast outlets including BBC television and radio, CNN, Sky News, Al Jazeera and LBC. He has also written on media for GQ magazine. Ian has been reporting on the media industry for The Independent for more than a decade. Previously he was the newspaper’s Home Affairs Editor. He worked at The Sunday Times for five years, including as a member of the investigative Insight team, covering stories on political funding, industrial espionage and the arms industry. Previously he worked in ITV for London Weekend Television, on a weekly current affairs programme presented by Danny Baker. Ian trained at the Birmingham Post & Mail and was Regional Reporter of the Year in Press Gazette’s national awards.
Tuesday 19 November 2013
Facebook told MPs today that it was encouraging teachers to intervene in bullying incidents on the social media site involving pupils from the same school.
Simon Milner, policy director for Facebook in the UK and Ireland, told the Culture Media and Sport committee that “typically bullies are friends of those who are being bullied”. He said he had been travelling the UK talking to staff about how to better tackle bullying on the site – which can be used by children of 13 and upwards.
When a bullying victim uses Facebook’s reporting tools to alert safety experts, the child’s school teachers are often being notified so that they can take remedial action. “The young person being bullied by somebody else at school can report that person to a teacher,” said Mr Milner, who said bullying was often carried into social media after starting out in the “classroom, the school bus or the school canteen”..
Facebook launched a Guide for Educators in June this year and works with organisations including Childline and Parentzone to limit online bullying.
Earlier in his evidence to a committee hearing on Online Safety, Mr Milner had defended Facebook’s publication of videos of beheadings, reminding MPs that the site was a global platform. While random violence was rare in the UK, “there are lots of people using our platform where this is a normal part of life,” he said.
Although he said Facebook was “refining our position” on publishing videos of beheadings he argued that “we think there’s a place for people to share that content in the right context”.
During the hearing, several members of the committee, including the former Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw, told a senior executive from Twitter that the site’s tool for reporting abuse was insufficiently prominent.
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