New Era In Social Networking?

Last modified on May 8th, 2008

A few months ago I talked about Megan Meier, a young girl who encountered abuse from a classmate’s mother via MySpace. That abuse eventually led to Megan committing suicide, and sparked a whole series of internet debates about where the fault for something like that lies and how accountable social networks should be for the actions of their users.

Today Facebook announced that they will be implementing over 40 safeguards to help protect its users from sexual predators and online cyberbullying:

Facebook, the world’s second-largest social networking Web site, will add more than 40 safeguards to protect young users from sexual predators and cyberbullies, attorneys general from several states said Thursday.

Facebook and officials in 49 states and the District of Columbia agree to safeguards to protect young users.

The changes include banning convicted sex offenders from the site, limiting older users’ ability to search online for subscribers under 18 and building a task force seeking ways to better verify users’ ages and identities.

“The agreement marks another watershed step toward social networking safety, protecting kids from online predators and inappropriate content,” said Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who announced the agreement Thursday with his counterparts in several other states.

Obviously I think that’s a huge step forward for the internet, especially since both Facebook and MySpace have agreed to adopt the guidelines set out in the agreement. And while it’s impossible to protect everyone from harm on these networks, I definitely think it’s a move in the right direction.