In a rather blunt move, Facebook has rebuffed the Government and the child protection groups’ demand to install “panic button” on its users’ homepages to report about the alleged paedophiles and sexual predators throughout its website.
The Home Secretary Alan Johnson met officials from the social networking site and put forth the need of a mechanism that would allow users to connect to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) throughout the pages of the site.
The meeting followed the murder of a 17-year-old girl, Ashleigh Hall, who was murdered by a serial rapist Peter Chapman, who masqueraded as a teen-aged boy and eventually lured the girl to her death.
Alan Johnson noted he and the Facebook officials had had a “frank exchange of views” all through the meeting, in which he emphasised the inclusion of CEOP panic button on the pages of the website, and hence called for the company to take it “above all the considerations”.
Within few hours of the meeting, the social networking giant said it is not going to include any such button on its site. Richard Allan, Facebook’s policy director, said that the button might prove to be effectual in principle, but for ‘other sites only and not Facebook’.
Facebook's Richard Allan also asserted that a procedure could be adopted, under which complaints reported to the site could immediately be directed to the CEOP, but ruled out the move to link the pages of the website with CEOP.