Last year we suggested that Facebook would eventually face the same kind of worries over sexual predators that have dogged MySpace in the past, and suggested a common sense approach: Imitate MySpace’s approach to the problem, which seems to have worked.
We’re glad they took our advice: Facebook partnered with 49 states and D.C. to implement new privacy rules that will help keep sexual predators away from minors. The deal will include increased cooperation with law enforcement, new technology to help shield younger users and new safety tools for all members. It’s basically the same pact that MySpace (NWS) signed in January with the same 49 states. In both cases Texas chose not to sign on. (What’s going in the Lone Star State?)
So what will Facebook exactly do? CNET:
“In the deal, the social network has agreed to develop age verification technology, send warning messages when an under-18 user may be giving personal information to an unknown adult, restrict the ability for people to change their ages on the site, and keep abreast of inappropriate content and harassment on the site.”
The deal is basically a no-brainer from a PR standpoint. One question: What does the new tech cost? We don’t know. But it’s got to be much less than any PR or legal problems would have cost the company down the road.