Facebook Criticised Over Safety

Facebook has become the most widely used social networking site in Great Britain. With 23 million active users in the United Kingdom alone, the American owned site connects more and more Britons every day. Today, Facebook has been accused of failing to protect young people in the UK from the threat of paedophiles who could prey on them.

Many other websites display an official ‘panic button’, which allows internet users to report any signs of abuse directly to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, otherwise known as ‘Ceop’. The tool was designed by Ceop so that UK internet users could easily alert them of anything suspicious or of suspected problems. It can give you advice on how to cope with any kind of sexual abuse, including protection against paedophiles. Ceop believes that their panic button would deter and scare off paedophiles in the same way that burglars might be deterred by an active burglar alarm.

However, Facebook are refusing to display the panic button on their website, claiming that so far there is no evidence to suggest that this protects internet users in any way or protects them from paedophiles. A spokesperson for the social networking site insists that it is “one of the safest” sites on the internet.

Because most of them advertise online these days, London escorts are particularly weary about who they meet on the web and always use extra safety measures if meeting someone in person.

The debate arose yesterday when a man was jailed for the rape and murder of a young girl he had met on Facebook. Peter Chapman was aged 33, but pretended he was younger and posted his profile picture as a good looking boy with his shirt off. He called himself ‘Pete Cartright’. Ashleigh Hall was 17, and her parents have since described how she had trouble meeting boys. She did not tell anyone that she was going to meet ‘Pete’ and went by herself after he had spent weeks grooming her via online chat and texts.

When Chapman picked up Ashleigh in his car he pretended to be the boy’s father, tricking her to go with him. Now she is dead and the culprit is behind bars; Ashleigh’s mother has pleaded with young people to be safe when using the internet.

Former senior police officer Jon Gamble is now in charge of Ceop, and has spoken out about Facebook’s refusal to display the button on the pages of their UK users. He firmly believes that Ceop should be more accessible to everyone online for their own safety.