Facebook's panic button to report child abuse

London : Popular social networking website Facebook will add a “panic button” application which will report child abuse to Britain’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP).

Once installed, the application appears on the homepage saying that the users are in “control online”.

Facebook had initially resisted the idea, but finally agreed after months of negotiation with the CEOP, BBC reported.

CEOP is a government law enforcement agency tasked with tracking down online sex offenders.

Other social networking websites including Bebo and MySpace have already added the button, but Facebook had resisted the change, saying its own reporting systems were sufficient.

Pressure mounted on Facebook after the rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl by a 33-year-old convicted sex offender, posing as a teenage boy, whom she met on Facebook.

Forty-four police chiefs in England, Wales and Scotland, signed a letter backing CEOP’s call for the “panic button” on every Facebook page.

“Our dialogue with Facebook about adopting the ‘ClickCeop’ button is well documented – today however is a good day for child protection,” Jim Gamble, CEOP’s chief executive, was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s head of communications in Britain, Sophy Silver, said the new application would integrate reporting to both Facebook and CEOP.

In addition to the reporting application, a new Facebook/CEOP page is being set up, with a range of topics that will be of interest to teenagers, such as celebrities, music and exams, and it will link these subjects to questions about online safety.

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