Facebook Agrees To Make Site Safer For Kids

In an agreement with 49 state attorneys general and the district of Columbia, the social networking site said it would pursue technological solutions to the challenges of finding and exorcising objectionable online behavior. That includes making it more difficult for adults to make online friends with users under 18 years of age.

Online activists have long clamored for tighter controls from providers such as Facebook and MySpace, as well as stricter parental oversight of computer use by youngsters. Still, millions of youngsters share private information among each other, which has turned social networks into hunting grounds for sexual predators. Such criminals often pose as minors to lure children into offering personal information.

Last fall, Facebook was found to have lax safety precautions by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office. Investigators working for Cuomo conducted an undercover operation in investigators posed as underage users; they reported receiving online sexual advances from adults within days.

Widespread pornographic and obscene content was also discovered. In October, Facebook said it would remediate the situation, agreeing "to respond to and begin addressing complaints about nudity or pornography, harassment or unwelcome contact within 24 hours."

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Complaints are to be emailed [email protected]. The social networking site must report to the complainant what it has done to address the issue within 72 hours of the initial email.