Facebook has said it has not objected to the installation of a panic button on the social networking site to allow users to report suspected paedophiles.
According to a BBC News report, the announcement was made after officials from the social networking site met home secretary Alan Johnson to discuss the issue. The button would link to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre and allow users to send an immediate distress message.
The home secretary said he and the site's executives had had a ‘frank exchange of views' during the meeting, following calls for Facebook to link to the (CEOP) centre.
He said: “I emphasised that including the CEOP abuse reporting button on their site has the potential to transform child protection - and that the company should put this above all other considerations.”
He said a high-level meeting would be held between Facebook and CEOP officials in Washington on 12 April to discuss it further.
The news has been particularly apparent following the reports of stalking and grooming that recently featured in the national press.
The CEOP has previously said that all social networking providers need to adopt a one-click button for children to get immediate police help. Chief executive of the CEOP centre Jim Gamble, who is also the lead for protecting children on the internet on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said that it had ‘been asking social networking providers for too long to do the right thing'.
He said: “Since November 2009 when we launched the ‘button' in AOL Bebo, we have carried out careful analysis to look at varying sites that haven't adopted our service and the trends are worrying.
“A total of 267 reports were received about activity in Facebook for instance during 2009, of which 43 per cent were cases of suspected grooming. However, 81 per cent of those reports were made by people having to go to other sites to make the report.
“That cannot be right. The button is a deterrent to offenders and provides users with a choice of either going to their social network provider or to CEOP for a range of advice and help. Why would anyone want to speak to a service provider about illegal activity and not come straight to us so that action can be taken?”