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May 8, 2008

NEWS: Facebook To Announce Safety And Privacy Deal With 49 States

Facebook To Announce Safety And Privacy Deal With 49 States

from TechCrunch by 

The Attorney General of Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, is about to make an announcement at noon ET that he and the attorneys generals from 48 other states have negotiated a deal with Facebook to implement new safety and privacy rules, according to sources with knowledge of the deal. Facebook will be making its own announcement later on today. This comes on the heels of a comprehensive agreement the 49 states made with MySpace last January. (The lone holdout in both cases is Texas). As I noted back then:

The rules will apply not only to Facebook, but to all application developers as well. Facebook has agreed to voluntarily comply with the following:

• Require companies offering services — called “widgets” or applications — to implement and enforce Facebook’s safety and privacy guidelines;

• Review and scrutinize requests by a user to change his or her age. Requests to change profile ages will be logged, and
Facebook will grant only a single request to change an age above or below 18.

• Maintain and continuously update a list of pornographic websites and regularly sever any links to such sites;

• Increase efforts to remove groups for incest, pedophilia,
cyberbullying and other violations of the site’s terms of services and expel from the site individual violators of those terms,

• Aggressively remove inappropriate images and content;

• More prominently display safety tips;

• Require users under 18 to affirm they have read Facebook’s safety tips when they sign up;

• Regularly review models for abuse reporting and perform a test
using the New Jersey Attorney General’s abuse reporting icon.

• Restricting searches by over-18 users so they cannot seek under- 18 users, along with other significant limits on searches;

• Limiting certain ads for age-restricted products — such as alcohol and tobacco — to users old enough to purchase such items;

• Identifying and removing profiles of all registered sex offenders;

• Sending automatic warning messages when a child is in danger of providing personal information to an unknown adult;

• Providing extensive privacy controls allowing the user to block access to their profile, restrict information available to users not their friends and prevent another user from contacting them;

• Providing parents with tools to remove their underage child’s profile from the site.

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