Facebook settles child safety probe

Facebook has submitted to a range of measures to settle the child safety probes being conducted in New York.

Facebook settles child safety probe

The social network site was subpoenaed in September by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for failing to protect young users from sexual predators and for not responding promptly enough to user complaints about safety issues.

Under the terms of the settlement, Facebook has agreed to address any complaint of inappropriate content concerning nudity, profanity or harassment within 24 hours of it being received.

This will be followed, within 72 hours, of a report to the complaining party detailing the response undertaken by the site.

In addition, the company has agreed to allow an independent examiner, chosen by the attorney general, to oversee how it handles such complaints. The examiner will report to the attorney general every six months over a two-year period on Facebook’s compliance.

The settlement involves no financial penalties.

“The attorney general pointed out some weaknesses in our complaint-handling process,” says Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly. “What he has directed us to do is renew our vigilance around complaint handling. We addressed them in a way that we were not happy with. There is a real opportunity here to set a standard.”

Facebook is also under investigation by a group of attorneys general representing 50 US states.

“This agreement is another step toward protecting children on social networking sites but we still have a long way to go,” says North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper in a separate statement. “Our group of attorneys general will keep pushing MySpace, Facebook and other sites to do more.”

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