Facebook adds panic button via an application to protect younger users

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre has welcomed Facebook's decision to add a panic button via an application.

The button will give users direct access to the CEOP's advice and reporting centre – ClickCEOP – from their homepage giving them the very latest help on online safety, as well as a dedicated facility for reporting instances of suspected grooming or inappropriate sexual behaviour.

The application will be backed by a new CEOP page that, when ‘liked', will look to engage with young people to help raise the profile of online safety. An automatic advert will also appear on the homepage of every user aged between 13 and 18 years old, inviting them to add the application.

Jim Gamble, chief executive of the CEOP centre, said: “Our dialogue with Facebook about adopting the ClickCEOP button is well documented – today however is a good day for child protection. By adding this application, Facebook users will have direct access to all the services that sit behind our ClickCEOP button, which should provide reassurance to every parent with teenagers on the site.

“We know from speaking to offenders that a visible deterrent could protect young people online. We urge all Facebook users to add the app and bookmark it so that others can see that they're in control online.”

Facebook had previously appeared to be resistant to the idea of a panic button and debates led to government intervention, with Facebook officials meeting former home secretary Alan Johnson to discuss the issue in March. A modified version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 is available with a panic button, while Google has researched something similar for its Chrome browser.

Joanna Shields, Facebook's vice president for EMEA, said: “Nothing is more important than the safety of our users, which is why we have invested so much in making Facebook one of the safest places on the internet.

“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.

“Together we have developed a new way of helping young people stay safe online and backed this with an awareness campaign to publicise it to young users. It is only through the constant and concerted effort of the industry, police, parents and young people themselves that we can all keep safe online – whether on Facebook or elsewhere.”

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