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Facebook still won't budge on 'panic button'

Social network will only place CEOP link on abuse reporting page

Facebook is still refusing to install a 'panic button' on its site, despite calls from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP).

Head of the CEOP , Jim Gamble, met with Facebook in Washington yesterday in a bid to get the social network "do the right thing for the child protection".

However, Gamble said that while Facebook had agreed to install links to organisations including the CEOP on the site, it was "one small step from doing the right thing" as it would still not agree to the 'panic button'.

"If you're going to operate a business that encourages people to frequent your public place so that you can advertise to them, then let's look after them while they're there."

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.

Gamble said he was pleased "there is a commitment from them [Facebook] to improve what they provide to UK policing".

"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."

Gamble added that while Facebook were "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".

Facebook's abuse reporting system has come under scrutiny following the murder of 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall.
She met her killer Peter Chapman on the social networking site.

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See also: Facebook feud not over despite settlement

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