To settle a New York state investigation into safety issues for minors on Facebook, the company today announced new guidelines on responding to complaints. Depending on the nature of the complaint, Facebook promises they will respond within 24 or 72 hours, according to a press release issued by the state. Apparently this gesture was enough for New York to drop its investigation into pornography and the solicitation of underage Facebook members.
Is this enough? I don’t think so. I can’t imagine what it must be like inside Facebook, as their recent growth has been astronomical (they currently have 47 million users!) But no matter, I would argue that more still needs to be done.
Do I pretend to have the solution? Not for a moment. Is the problem only at Facebook? Of course not.
Reading the New York Times, I learned that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and Attorney General Roy Cooper of North Carolina are co-chairs of a national social networking task force of all 50 state attorneys general. They have issued their own press release in response to the New York/Facebook settlement, calling for much stronger actions.
In fact, they call for six specific steps. Are you ready? Quoting from their own release, here they are:
* Requiring age and identity verification for users 18 and older, and parental permission for users younger than 18.
* Implementing filtering technology to screen out sexually explicit, racist, violent or other mature images and significantly increasing the number of staff reviewing such images.
* Prohibiting sexually explicit and other inappropriate word and phrase searches.
* Hiding minors’ profiles from adults.
* Limiting minors’ search options.
* Removing inappropriate advertising targeting minors.
* Barring minors from accessing sexually orientated and other inappropriate web site groups.
All these sound pretty good .. of course the devil is in the details … and I might argue implementation. But these sound like good conversation starters.