For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: May 8, 2008

Wasden Announces Nationwide Agreement with Facebook

(Boise) – Idaho parents can be reassured that there will be more safeguards to protect their children on the popular teen social networking site, Facebook, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today. Facebook has entered into an agreement with Idaho, 48 other states and the District of Columbia to provide safeguards that better protect children from predators and inappropriate content. Facebook has also agreed to participate in a task force on implementation of age and identity verification software.

“I look forward to working with Facebook on developing industry-wide practices to ensure a safe online environment for children,” Attorney General Wasden said. “This agreement will allow social networking site operators to better assist law enforcement officials in deterring and prosecuting criminals who misuse the Internet to prey upon children.”

Facebook has agreed to make the following changes:

  • Provide automatic warning messages when a child is in danger of giving personal information to an unknown adult;
  • Restrict the ability of users to change their listed ages;
  • Act more aggressively to remove inappropriate content and groups from the site; and
  • Require third party vendors to adhere to Facebook’s safety and privacy guidelines.

In addition, companies offering Facebook users services -- called “widgets” -- will now have to implement and enforce Facebook’s safety and privacy guidelines.

Facebook also has agreed to maintain a list of pornographic websites and regularly sever any links to such sites. It will remove groups for incest, pedophilia, cyberbullying and other violations of the site’s terms of services, as well as expel from the site individual violators of those terms.

Facebook also must:

  • More prominently display safety tips;
  • Require users under 18 to affirm they have read Facebook’s safety tips when they sign up; and
  • Regularly review models for abuse reporting.

Attorney General Wasden has been working since 2006, along with the Attorneys General of Connecticut, North Carolina, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia, to make social networking safer.

The agreement is similar to one that MySpace reached in January with Idaho. MySpace agreed to head a task force, which Facebook has joined, to explore and develop age and identification tools for social networking sites.

Read Attorney General Wasden’s agreement with Facebook.

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