Facebook announced two new safety improvements today in conjunction with a White House summit for preventing bullying. The additions are part of the social network's push against abuse on its service.
The first improvement, Social Reporting, is "a reporting system that's social by design." Facebook has always offered a comprehensive system for people to report content to the company. Now it's adding a unique feature developed with safety experts that lets younger users also privately report content not just to the website itself, but to parents, teachers, and others in their support system who may be able to address the issue more directly by getting to the root of the problem. Facebook has been testing and improving Social Reporting over the past few months and the feature will soon be available globally (I've added a Photo Gallery of the feature in action).
The second improvement is a Safety Center with more multimedia resources. Facebook's previous Safety Center provided targeted information for parents, educators, and teenagers looking for answers to top questions about online safety. In the next few weeks, the company will incorporate new educational videos, external resources from renowned experts, downloadable materials for people to share and discuss, perspective and advice on using technology wisely from teenagers themselves, and so on. The new Safety Center will be regularly updated with new information and tools.
"Social reporting is a way for people to quickly and easily ask for help from someone they trust," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "Safety and child psychology experts tell us that online issues are frequently a reflection of what is happening offline. By encouraging people to seek help from friends, we hope that many of these situations can be resolved face to face… In the next few weeks, we will incorporate new educational videos, external resources from renowned experts, downloadable materials for people to share and discuss, and more…We're also looking to teens to get their perspective and advice on using technology wisely."
Facebook has received support from the White House for these two improvements, which is why they are being announced today. US President Barack Obama used today's summit to discuss bullying prevention with parents, kids, educators, safety experts, researchers, and companies, including Facebook to discuss how to create a "culture of respect." Yesterday, the US President and First Lady Michelle Obama put together a video for Facebook that explained why preventing bullying is a responsibility everyone shares.
"Today's summit is about collaboration and being innovative in the ways in which we address safety," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "We hope these new resources will help all of us—parents, teachers, kids, safety experts, and Facebook itself—work together to create safer environments. We're excited about these initiatives and the work being done to create a culture of respect on Facebook and across the web."