Facebook Works With Maryland To Curb Bullying

By David Cohen 

MarylandFlagMapMaryland Attorney General Doug Gansler briefed the state’s school district superintendents on the Educator Escalation Channel, an initiative with Facebook to help eliminate bullying on the social network.

The Baltimore Sun reported that each school district will designate a representative who will contact Facebook if posts determined to be bullying are discovered, adding that those representatives will follow the social network’s reporting process, but if their issues are not addressed within 24 hours, they can email a dedicated site that will be monitored 24/7 by Facebook employees, according to Facebook Spokesman Matt Steinfeld.

Baltimore County Executive Director of School Safety and Security Dale Rauenzahn told the Sun he has experienced difficulties when trying to aid parents and guidance counselors in efforts to delete harmful posts on Facebook and other social networks, even when working in conjunction with law enforcement, adding:

We have tried to contact the vendors directly, and it is very difficult to get the right person.

When Gansler was president of the National Association of Attorneys General, the group teamed up with Facebook to launch a consumer-education program in April, aimed at teens and parents, and he said at the time:

Teenagers and adults should know that there are tools to help protect their online privacy when they go on Facebook and other digital platforms. We hope this campaign will encourage consumers to closely manage their privacy and these tools and tips will help provide a safer online experience. Of course, attorneys general will continue to actively protect consumers’ online privacy, as well.

State laws need to be updated to reflect our modern era, in which the very nature of privacy and personal information is changing. Attorneys general have before us an extraordinary opportunity to reorient our enforcement and advocacy efforts toward the unique privacy challenges posed by the digital economy.

He told the Sun Thursday:

When there is clear cyber-bullying going on, then getting that language taken off Facebook as quickly as possible (is important).

We do hear about the suicides. What we don’t hear about are the hundreds of thousands of children who are thrown into emotional distress by cyber-bullying.

Readers: Would you like to see more states follow Maryland’s lead?

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