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Facebook to meet with UK protection agency

Social networking site surged to install 'panic button'

Facebook is to meet with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) this week to discuss safety on the social networking site.

Head of the CEOP Jim Gamble has flown to Washington in the US in a bid to get the social network to "do the right thing for the child protection" and install a 'panic button' on the site - something it is currently refusing to do.

Rival social network Bebo already offers a 'CEOP Report' button on every profile.

Clicking the button gives users access to advice and support from the CEOP along with nine other different sources of help, including Childline and Beatbullying.

However, last month director of policy for Facebook, Richard Allan, said while the button might be effective in principle, it would only work "for other sites", and not Facebook.

According to Gamble, the matter has gained greater urgency following the murder of 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall. She met her killer Peter Chapman on the social networking site.

"Is Facebook so arrogant that it does not mind what the collective child protection community think?" Gamble said last week, when he revealed that the police have received more than 200 complaints about suspected paedophiles and incidents of cyberbullying on the social network in the last three months.

"They need to make some decisions. Do they want to be the website of choice for bullies, for dangerous individuals, for rapists and murderers?"

"We take the issue of safety very seriously, and recently met the Home Secretary to discuss online safety," Facebook said.

See also: Facebook feud not over despite settlement

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