Facebook Creates Online Board for Safety

By Charlotte Cuthbertson
Charlotte Cuthbertson
Charlotte Cuthbertson
Senior Reporter
Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter with The Epoch Times who primarily covers border security and the opioid crisis.
December 7, 2009 Updated: October 1, 2015

Facebook has created an external advisory board to ferret out dangers and give advice on best safety practices.

The company announced the board’s creation on Dec. 6, days after the New York Attorney General’s office cited Facebook’s cooperation in identifying and disabling the accounts of registered sex offenders.

"We believe that the only way to keep kids safe online is for everyone who wants to protect them to work together," said Elliot Schrage, vice president of global communications and public policy at Facebook.

The Safety Advisory Board consists of five Internet safety groups from North America and Europe, including Childnet International, The Family Online Safety InstituteCommon Sense Media, ConnectSafely, and WiredSafety

"The formation of a board to advise specifically on safety issues is a positive, innovative and collaborative step towards creating a more robust safety environment, and we are thrilled that such a well-respected, trusted group of organizations has joined us in this endeavor," said Schrage.

Facebook said they may add more members to the board in the future.

"We're thrilled" to be part of the board, Parry Aftab, executive director of WiredSafety, told TechNewsWorld. "We've been advising Facebook since 2005, and we all know each other very well."

Each of the groups involved will bring "a slightly different flavor to best practices in cyberspace," she added.
It's important that Facebook have "outside voices they can trust and share information with in a confidential way," Aftab said. "If you want to keep people safe, you've got to do it where they are."

Richard Allen, Facebook’s director of European public policy said on his Facebook blog that “one of our first projects together will be to overhaul the safety information that's available to you from the Facebook Help Center so that the resources are more comprehensive and include content that's specifically tailored to the needs of parents, teachers and teens.”

Improving safety online is a group effort, he said. It requires diligence from everyone who's online or on Facebook—whether by reporting abusive behavior or making sure your account and passwords are secure.

Study Finds Worse Privacy Protection by Facebook Users

A recent study on Australian Facebook users has revealed that members are quick to give out their personal details. The study by Sophos, an internet safety company, created two female Australian Facebook users, Daisy Feletin (21, single) and Dinette Stonily (56, married).

“Each sent a friend request to 100 randomly-selected contacts in their age group, and waited two weeks to see who would respond,” the Sophos blogger Paul Ducklin wrote.

In the younger crowd, 46 friends accept the invitation. Although fewer (41) of the 50-something crowd blindly accepted the friend request, cat-loving Dinette ended up with more friends overall (49) thanks to eight Facebookers who volunteered to befriend Dinette of their own accord, wrote Ducklin.

“This willingness to make friends without waiting for an invitation helps explain why the older users have more than four times as many Facebook friends on average than the youngsters.”

The youngsters were more liberal giving out their workplace (or school/college if they weren't yet working); both groups were very liberal with their email addresses and birthdays. This is worrying because these details make an excellent starting point for scammers and anyone else wanting to collect confidential information.

“Ten years ago, getting access to this sort of detail would probably have taken a con-artist or an identify thief several weeks, and have required the on-the-spot services of a private investigator,” the site said. “Sadly, these days, many social networkers are handing over their life story on a plate.”

Sophos said the results were even worse than in their London experiment of 2007.

Founded in February 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Facebook is a privately held company and is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.


Charlotte Cuthbertson
Senior Reporter
Charlotte Cuthbertson is a senior reporter with The Epoch Times who primarily covers border security and the opioid crisis.