Earlier today Facebook, the Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett along with attorneys general from 48 other states and the District of Columbia today announced that Facebook has agreed to significant steps to better protect children on the social networking site. This agreement appears to be something similar to the one that Myspace had agreed to back in January. The purpose of this new agreement is to better protect children on social networks.
Facebook will be joining the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, which was created after the January agreement with MySpace, to explore and develop age and identity verification tools. Every three months the task force will report back to the attorneys general and ultimately issue a formal report with findings and recommendations at the end of 2008. Facebook is already provides the most granular privacy controls of any social network on the web.
There are a few additional things that Facebook has agreed to though. According to Tom Corbett, Facebook agreed to changes which include providing automatic warning messages when a child is in danger of giving personal information to an unknown adult, restricting the ability of users to change their listed ages, and acting more aggressively to remove inappropriate content and groups from the site.
As Caroline McCarthy pointed out earlier, “The only state that did not agree to Facebook’s plan was Texas, which likewise did not sign on to the plan that News Corp.’s MySpace created in conjunction with the attorneys general in January.” Privacy will continue to be increasingly relevant especially considering Myspace’s announcement of the Myspace Data Availability initiative.