Facebook a 'real concern' says online child protection head
Friday 09 April 2010
Facebook has not passed a single complaint about suspected paedophiles grooming vulnerable child users to police, the head of an organisation safeguarding youngsters online said yesterday.
Jim Gamble, who heads the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), said he had "real concerns" about the social networking site's work to protect children. He challenged the company to reveal 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 none of these had been provided by the company itself. His comments are the latest salvo in an increasingly bitter feud over Facebook's refusal to add a "panic" button to its site's most popular pages. Ceop wants the button, which enables users to report abuse, to be given prominent use.
Mr Gamble was speaking ahead of his crunch meeting with Facebook bosses in Washington DC on Monday, where he will call for them to break the deadlock. "Facebook say their system is robust and we have no reason not to believe them," he said yesterday. "Our reports are increasing monthly. In the first quarter of this year we have had 252 complaints about Facebook. None 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?"
He added that 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 company was good at removing pornography and obscene content, as it is required to do so by law in the US.
"I believe Facebook confuse their approach to content with their approach to behaviour and that is the root of the problem," he said. "That is where predators go online, engage the young and vulnerable, and lure them offline where they can abuse them. In many cases young people in the online environment are bullied to the point of suicide."
Ceop receives up to 800 reports every month from internet users who suspect others of grooming, bullying, fraud or other crimes. Of 252 complaints about Facebook between January and March, two in five related to sexual grooming.
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
Becky Watts: Four appear in court charged with hiding body parts after teenager's death
Isis 'bulldozes' Nimrud: UNESCO condemns destruction of ancient Assyrian site as a 'war crime'
Professor Brian Cox brands astrology-believing Tory MP David Tredinnick an 'outlier on the spectrum of reason'
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Kate Moss: Previously unpublished nude photo revealed by Mert and Marcus
- 3 Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
- 4 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 5 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube