Facebook has been asked to add to its pages a child safety “panic button” that will guide users how to handle cyberbullying and inappropriate behaviour.
Officials of the social networking site, which has been criticised for defying calls to add a specialist link to every page, were asked by child safety groups to “turn words into action” during a meeting in Washington.
Jim Gamble, director of Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop), who wants such a link on every page of the website, said the matter was urgent after the murder of a teenager by a man she met on the site.
Speaking after the meeting, Gamble said Facebook was “one small step from doing the right thing” but had not agreed to his demands outright.
“What I am pleased about is there is a commitment from them to improve what they provide to UK policing,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.
“There is no doubt they are looking to improve their position around child safety and we recognise that. What I am looking for is turning words into action.
“In our view they are experts at creating a fantastic online environment but they are not experts in law enforcement, the power of deterrents and the reassurance it brings for mums and dads.”
According to the report, chief constables from across England and Wales, including Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, have signed a letter supporting the addition of the extra safety feature on every pages of Facebook.
Meanwhile, Facebook, which had previously said it would not install a “panic button” on its main pages for users to report suspected paedophiles, has not agreed for it, but said it would install links to organisations including Ceop on its reporting pages.
But Gamble said he could not understand why Facebook would not agree to adopt the button on every page as it was a free way to “help save some children“.
The “panic button” in question is already used by other websites, including Bebo. Clicking on it takes people to a site that details how to handle cyberbullying, hacking, viruses, distressing material and inappropriate sexual behaviour.