If Facebook were a country, its population of 500 million would make it one of the world’s giants – in the real world, only China and India have bigger populations. Of course, part of the job of any country is to keep its citizens safe.
Naturally, Facebook doesn’t aspire to the status of a nation state. All its users are citizens of other countries with their own governments, police forces and armies. Yet given Facebook’s immense scale, it’s not surprising the social networking site feels it shares responsibility for the safety of its users. Safety has also been a political issue in countries like Australia where there has been public debate over Facebook’s relationship with law enforcement and responsibilities to users.
Today Facebook announced a new initiative to keep its users safe – a Facebook safety page to complement its existing Facebook security page. By ‘liking’ this page, Facebook users will automatically stay current with any updates on how to keep themselves safe when using Facebook.
So far the page contains links to some of Facebook’s other safety initiatives – such as the Facebook Safety Advisory Board – and third-party information such as a Connect Safely blog post on suicide prevention on Facebook. At present, the page is also suffering from quite a bit of comment spam, promoting unrelated content such as music pages.
A Facebook spokesman said: “We believe that online safety is a shared responsibility. We’ll continue to think of innovative ways to promote safety on our service and elsewhere on the Web, and we hope that all of the people that use Facebook will make safety a regular part of their Facebook experience.”
The page joins existing Facebook safety initiatives such as establishing a Safety Advisory Board comprised of five leading non-profits; creating a Safety Center within the Help Center; and partnering with the national PTA to educate parents, teachers and students about online safety.