Posts Tagged ‘Social Network

12
Jul
10

Facebook Installs Panic Button For Children

NEWS
Facebook Installs Panic Button For Children

Monday, July 12, 2010

••• Young Facebook users will be able to report suspicious online behavior with the launch of a new ‘panic button’ targeting sex offenders.

Children can use the button to report abuse to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and Facebook.

The application will automatically appear on the homepage of every user aged between 13 and 18.

The launch follows months of negotiation between Facebook and CEOP, the government law enforcement agency tasked with tracking down online sex offenders.

CEOP called for the panic button to be installed in November but Facebook has resisted the idea.

Bebo became the first network to add the button, followed by MySpace while Facebook maintained that its own reporting systems were adequate.

However pressure mounted on Facebook following the rape and murder of Ashleigh Hall, 17.

Ashleigh was killed by a 33-year-old convicted sex offender, posing as a teenage boy, whom she met on Facebook.

Forty-four police chiefs in England, Wales and Scotland, signed a letter backing CEOP’s call for a panic button on every Facebook page.

Users will be able to bookmark the Click CEOP service or add it as an application to find information about online safety.

Jim Gamble, chief executive of the CEOP Centre said: ‘Our dialogue with Facebook about adopting the Click CEOP button is well documented – today however is a good day for child protection.

‘We know from speaking to offenders that a visible deterrent could protect young people online.’

Facebook’s Joanna Shields added: ‘There is no single silver bullet to making the internet safer but by joining forces with CEOP we have developed a comprehensive solution which marries our expertise in technology with CEOP’s expertise in online safety.’

James Brokenshire, U.K. Minister for Crime Prevention said: ‘It’s a sad fact that we are now seeing more cases where sex offenders are using social networking sites to conceal their identities in order to contact children.’
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
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17
Jun
10

AOL sells Bebo for scrap – and a $275 million tax break

NEWS
AOL sells Bebo for scrap – and a $275 million tax break

Thursday, June 17, 2010

••• AOL Inc is paring back its ambitions in online social networking, selling a website called Bebo that it bought a little more than two years ago for $.850 million. when AOL was still part of Time Warner Inc.
Bebo, which was launched in 2005, has failed to match the huge popularity of sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

It has been strong in foreign markets, though, including Britain.

AOL tried to take advantage of that to drive traffic to its other ad-supported web properties, but the site has been losing ground.

Worldwide, it had about 12.6 million users in April, less than half of the 26.9 million it had in the same month a year ago, according to comScore Inc.

In the U.S., Bebo was down to 4.9 million from 10.2 million a year earlier. In the same period, Facebook has grown to 121.8 million users in the US from 67.5 million.

AOL said in April it planned to shut Bebo or sell it. The company said on Wednesday the buyer is the private investment firm, Criterion Capital Partners LLC.

The California firm did not say how much it is paying, but analysts have speculated that the site would fetch just a small fraction of what AOL paid for it. In a note AOL CEO Tim Armstrong sent to employees on Thursday, he said the deal provides a ‘meaningful’ tax deduction for AOL.

AOL said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it expects to log a tax benefit of $275 million to $325 million in the April-June quarter. The company also said it will assess whether it needs to write down the value of its business overall for the quarter.

In his note, Armstrong also said the sale would let Bebo users continue to use the service.

Criterion Capital Partners are specialists in facilitating growth plans and turnarounds and are well-placed to drive Bebo’s effort to strengthen its foothold within the highly competitive social networking arena,’ he wrote.

In April, AOL unloaded another service that it had acquired for more money. It agreed to sell its ICQ instant messaging business for $187.5 million in cash to Russian internet investor Digital Sky Technologies. In 1998, AOL, then known as America Online, paid at least $US287 million to buy Mirabilis, the Israeli company behind ICQ.

AOL shares fell 8 cents to $22.20 in afternoon trading.
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27
May
10

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces new privacy tools

NEWS
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announces new privacy tools
Your privacy is important to us!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Facebook on Wednesday overhauled its privacy controls to fend off mounting criticism that it is betraying the trust that has made it the world’s biggest online social-networking service.

‘It’s been a pretty intense few weeks for us, listening to all the feedback coming in from all the changes we’ve made,’ Facebook’s 26-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg said as he unveiled simplified privacy controls.

‘Our teams internally have been cranking for the last couple of weeks.’

Facebook unveiled a redesigned privacy settings page to provide a single control for content and ‘significantly reduce’ the amount of information that is always visible to everyone.

Facebook also said it is giving users more control over how outside applications or websites access information at the service.

‘This is a pretty big overhaul to the system we already have,’ Zuckerberg said while outlining the changes during a press briefing at the social network’s headquarters in the California city of Palo Alto.

‘Now we are making it so there is less information that has to be public. People want a simple way to control the way information is shared with third parties, so that is what we are doing.’

The revamped privacy controls will roll out in the coming days, according to Zuckerberg.

Facebook last month sparked criticism from U.S. privacy and consumer groups, U.S. lawmakers and the European Union by adding the ability for partner websites to incorporate data regarding members of the social-networking service.

Zuckerberg was adamant that Facebook does not give advertisers access to members’ personal information.
• Source(s): Facebook Inc.
Facebook Blog
Privacy Settings
Mark Zuckerberg on ‘Making Control Simple’

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22
May
10

Facebook preparing to make changes to privacy settings in response to criticism

NEWS
Facebook preparing to make changes to privacy settings in response to criticism

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Facebook on Saturday said it plans to simplify privacy controls at the popular social-networking service to appease critics.

‘We’ve spent the last couple of weeks listening to users and consulting with experts in California; Washington, DC, and around the world,’ Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in response to an AFP inquiry.

‘The messages we’ve received are pretty clear. Users appreciate having precise and comprehensive controls, but want them to be simpler and easier to use.’

Facebook contended that members like new programs rolled out at the California-based internet hotspot but want easy ways to opt out of sharing personal information with third-party applications or websites.

‘We’re listening to this input and incorporating it into innovations we hope to announce shortly,’ Noyes said.

Facebook has been under fire from U.S. privacy and consumer groups, U.S. lawmakers and the European Union over new features that critics claim compromise the privacy of its more than 400 million members.

The features introduced last month include the ability for partner websites to incorporate Facebook data, a move that would further expand the social network’s presence on the internet.
Four U.S. senators, in a letter to Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, said they were worried that personal information about Facebook users is being made available to third party websites.

The senators also expressed concerns that ‘Facebook now obligates users to make publicly available certain parts of their profile that were previously private’.

Sharing personal information should be an ‘opt-in’ procedure in which a user specifically gives permission for data to be shared, privacy advocates argue.

Coming Facebook refinements are not expected to include a shift to an opt-in model.

Facebook vice president of global communications Elliot Schrage has been adamant that online privacy is taken very seriously at the company.

‘These new products and features are designed to enhance personalisation and promote social activity across the internet while continuing to give users unprecedented control over what information they share, when they want to share it, and with whom,’ Schrage said.

MySpace on May 17 announced plans to simplify its privacy settings as it seeks to differentiate itself from social network rival Facebook, which has eclipsed the News Corp-owned social networking service.

‘The last few weeks have been fraught with discussion around user privacy on social networks,’ MySpace co-president Mike Jones said in a blog post without directly mentioning Facebook by name.

‘While MySpace at its core is about discovery, self expression and sharing, we understand people might want the option of limiting the sharing of their information to a select group of friends,’ Jones said.
Jones said MySpace, which was bought by News Corp. in 2005 for $580 million, is ‘planning the launch of a simplified privacy setting for our user profiles.

‘While we’ve had these plans in the works for some time, given the recent outcry over privacy concerns in the media, we felt it was important to unveil those plans to our users now,’ he said.
• Source(s): Facebook Inc. and MySpace / Digital Media Group / News Corporation
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13
Apr
10

Facebook rejects suggested ‘Panic Button’ for pages

NEWS
Facebook rejects suggested ‘Panic Button’ for pages

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Facebook has announced an overhaul of its online safety measures that include the redesign of its abuse reporting system. But British users are concerned the new features still don’t go far enough.

Facebook’s “Safety Center” features new tools for parents, teachers, teens and law enforcement; it’s the first major endeavor from the social networking site and its four-month-old global safety advisory board.

Some new features of the safety center include four times more content on staying safe, such as dealing with bullying online, an interactive portal and a simpler design. But the company has not announced the installation of a panic button on every page as British officials had urged it to do.

Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, said the social networking giant did not agree to his demands outright at a meeting in Washington but he felt they were moving in the right direction.

Speaking after a four-hour meeting yesterday, Mr. Gamble said Facebook was close to “doing the right thing” but urged the website to turn “words into action”.

“They are one small step away from doing the right thing,” he said.

“I am more optimistic than when I came. They are not saying no, that is very clear.

“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.”

The showdown came after controversy in Britain over Facebook’s refusal to include a “panic button” on its pages after the conviction of a serial rapist who used the site to lure and murder a teenage girl.

Peter Chapman posed as a young boy to lure 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall to her death in north-east England.

Calls have since grown for the inclusion of the buttons – which allow youngsters who feel threatened online to quickly contact a number of sources of help, such as CEOP or anti-bullying helplines.

Politicians, police and anti-bullying groups have voiced outrage that the online giant will not bow to demands to include the system.

“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,” Mr. Gamble said.

The other problem with a “panic button” is that it could lead to a false sense of security. If someone truly is aware of an online emergency, they are better off calling 911 or its equivalent in whatever country they are in.

Related: U.K. pressures Facebook to install ‘panic button’ to protect kids GO
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06
Apr
10

AOL says to sell or shut down Bebo in 2010

NEWS
AOL says to sell or shut down Bebo in 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Internet company AOL has announced plans to sell Bebo just two years after buying the social networking site for $850 million.

Bebo has been struggling against more popular rivals such as Facebook and AOL said it needed “significant investment” to become competitive.

AOL was not in a position to provide such funding, the company said.

AOL split with Time Warner last year and is itself struggling against rival internet providers.

“Bebo, unfortunately, is a business that been declining and, as a result, would require significant investment in order to compete in the competitive social networking space,” Jon Brod of AOL Ventures told employees in an email.

“AOL is committed to working quickly to determine if there are any interested parties for Bebo and the company’s current expectation is to complete our strategic evaluation by the end of May 2010.”

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13
Mar
10

U.K. pressures Facebook to install ‘panic button’ to protect kids

NEWS
U.K. pressures Facebook to install ‘panic button’ to protect kids

Saturday, March 13, 2010

••• British officials say they’re pressuring Facebook to make a “panic button” available on its Web pages following the death of a teenager at the hands of a man she met on the popular social networking site.

British child protection authorities have been lobbying Facebook and other social networking sites to install a one-click button which can allow children to get immediate police help if they suspect they’re at risk.

Calls for Facebook to install the button intensified following the kidnap, rape and murder of 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall. Her killer, Peter Chapman, used a bogus Facebook identity to befriend her online.

Harriet Harman, the deputy leader of Britain’s governing Labour Party, said Thursday ministers were lobbying Facebook to adopt the button.
Why are we asking this now?

On Monday, Peter Chapman, 33, was sentenced to a minimum of 35 years in prison for the murder of Darlington teenager Ashleigh Hall. Chapman, a convicted sex offender, was “very active” on a stolen black Acer laptop in the period leading up to the murder; it later transpired that he had used the social networking website Facebook in order to choose his victim. While websites such as Facebook usually play a passive, benign role in crimes that headlines might suggest are entirely attributable to them, this is one case where the death of a young woman was indeed caused by the ease of constructing a false Facebook identity, coupled with a tragic ignorance of the signs we should all look for, and the rules we should all follow.

What did Chapman do?

In autumn last year he signed up to Facebook under a false identity. By using the name Peter Cartwright and a photograph of an attractive, bare-chested young man, he successfully posed as a 19-year old and began to exchange messages with Ashleigh. Within the space of a month they had arranged a weekend rendezvous; Chapman explained in a message that the father of “Peter Cartwright” would be picking her up in his car. Ashleigh’s body was found the following Monday.

What is it about these sites that’s creating such a problem?

First, they’re extraordinarily popular with young people. Facebook is second only to Google in terms of overall popularity online, and the amount of time we spend on such websites to socialise, exchange messages, post links to interesting websites, play games and arrange real-life meet-ups is increasing rapidly. Marketing research company Nielsen reported last summer that 17 per cent of all time spent online is on social networking websites – and that figure is pushed up considerably by teenagers. Second, we’re gullible. The ease with which we can be flattered into opening messages and entering into dialogue with people we don’t know is staggering; it’s known as “social engineering” and has been rampant online since the first major web virus spread around the globe behind the email subject title “I LOVE YOU”.

Is this issue restricted to children?

Certainly not. Each week sees countless examples of adults being hoodwinked online, too. Indeed, the older generation’s lack of familiarity with modern technology can put them at an even higher risk of being duped into handing over money, revealing secrets or making ill-advised arrangements to meet strangers. The most famous recent example was when Fidel Castro’s 40-year old son had his explicit email messages reprinted in newspapers worldwide; the person he thought was “gorgeous” 27-year old Columbian sports journalist Claudia Valencia was actually a 46-year old man called Luis Dominguez.

Is Facebook a particular source of concern?

Facebook is one of the few social networking sites that require you to use your real name when you sign up. “It ultimately creates a safer and more trusted environment for all of our users,” says a Facebook spokesman. “We require people to be who they are.” However, it remains very easy to pretend to be someone else – as demonstrated by Peter Chapman with tragic consequences – and Facebook’s “real name” culture might even mean that we’re less likely to spot fakery. MySpace and Bebo, by contrast, are a free-for-all with no restrictions on pseudonymity – but it’s important to realise that there are many sound, privacy-related reasons for not revealing one’s true identity online. Indeed, many children are very aware of and comfortable with the idea of managing multiple online identities.

Can we ever be 100 per cent sure who we’re talking to online?

No. But while this fact could easily prompt paranoia, it’s more useful to adopt a healthy scepticism about online relationships and to classify them very differently to real-life ones.

What could be done to prevent a repeat of the Ashleigh Hall tragedy?

The Home Secretary Alan Johnson said yesterday that both the UK and the US were working on ways to detect the presence of convicted sex offenders on the internet, but legislating effectively in the online space is incredibly difficult. An NSPCC-supported plan to extend the sex offenders’ register to include their online identities and email addresses was deemed a breach of offenders’ rights under European law in December 2008, and while it remains a government commitment, the ease with which Chapman created his online alter ego demonstrates how toothless such a law would prove. In the US, the state of Illinois saw a new law take effect on 1 January which bars known sex offenders from social networking websites, but the definition is so broad as to potentially exclude them from risk-free online zones such as job-hunting websites, Amazon and even Google. In addition, tracking offenders’ internet use from an increasing number of access points (cafes, libraries, mobile phones, Wi-Fi hotspots and much else besides) just isn’t practical.

What more could these sites do to protect children?

Given that millions of teenagers use Facebook, MySpace and Bebo as virtual platforms to socialise, raising the minimum age permitted to join (currently 13 for Facebook and Bebo, 14 for MySpace) would be a drastic and unworkable measure – and, indeed, wouldn’t have helped 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall. The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), an arm of UK policing dedicated to child protection, is campaigning for social networking websites to incorporate a clearly visible button which would allow children to report suspicious behaviour; MSN Live Messenger and Bebo are two of many to already feature it, but Facebook is not yet on board – a fact described by Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne as a “glaring failure”. But the human weakness in detecting suspicious behaviour can render even that button redundant – making education the most crucial measure.

What rules should be followed?

CEOP’s website at thinkuknow.co.uk is an excellent resource for children, featuring information on how to have fun, how to stay in control and where to report anything that seems unusual. There’s also a primer for parents about social networking and other internet activities that their children might be indulging in. But three golden rules for children: don’t post material that you wouldn’t want your parents to see; keep your personal information private; and keep your internet friends as internet friends – because online identities may not always correspond to those in real life.

Is there any way of completely eliminating the risks?

Only by avoiding use of the internet altogether, but in the 21st century this is becoming an increasingly impractical option. Engagement and familiarity with the internet’s delights and menaces are a far better way for us all to stay safe.

Are sites such as Facebook as dangerous as they are made out to be?

Yes

• The internet is an unregulated space that convicted sex offenders have unfettered access to

• The ease with which we can adopt online pseudonyms can make the online landscape very confusing

• Children who have not had sufficient education about online safety may find themselves at risk

No

• The media enjoys demonising Facebook and likes to play upon existing fears of the internet

• Social networking websites are an increasingly important social tool and should be encouraged

• The vast majority of children have no more trouble in their online social lives than they do in the playground

• Source(s): U.K. Press

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