U.K. Facebook's 'panic button' could spark change to U.S. site

Social networking website Facebook is displayed on a laptop screen.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Bill Radke: Today, Facebook gave in to pressure from British authorities and installed a "panic button" on its U.K. website. So now kids can report bullying or suspicious behavior to authorities immediately. From London, Stephen Beard joins us live to talk about that. Hi Stephen.

Stephen Beard: Hello Bill.

Radle: Facebook has resisted some changes to its child safety and privacy policies before. Why this decision now?

Beard: As a result of enormous political and police pressure here following the rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl last October. She was killed by a 33-year-old sex offender who she'd met on Facebook. He'd been posing as a teenager. So now Facebook has agreed to this new panic button for young British Facebook users. If they're worried about cyber-bullying or that they're being stalked, they can click on a link to a British law enforcement agency and report their suspicions.

Radke: And is the same change coming to Facebook's American site?

Beard: Well, one analyst I was talking to this morning said he thinks it will, that eventually Facebook will install a direct reporting link to the U.S.'s national center for missing and exploited children. But there are many skeptics out there who say actually the best way to curb this kind of abuse, bullying and stalking and so on is for Facebook itself to become a lot more vigilant about the people it allows onto its site.

Radke: Stephen Beard in London. Thank you.

Beard: OK, Bill.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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