In an effort to deal with cyber bullying on the platform, Facebook has recently expanded its Safety Center and made more resources available.
According to Facebook:
[The] mission is to give people the power to share and to make the world more open and connected. We want everyone to feel safe when using Facebook.
Bullying Prevention Hub
Working with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Facebook has rolled out access to the Bullying Prevention Hub for all users. The Bullying Prevention Hub involves over 50 different partner organisations that focus on bullying prevention, and the website has educational materials for teens, parents, and educators. It gives detailed instruction on what to do if you, your child or your student is a victim of bullying, if you witness bullying or if you have been accused of bullying. There are also instructions for schools and teachers on how to prevent bullying in the first place.
Facebook’s Safety Center is a useful resource for Facebook users, it provides instructions and walkthroughs on how to control their profile and stay safe. It includes video instructions and is available in over 50 languages. Alex Stamos, the head of security at Facebook, recently commented on the challenges of security on Facebook, saying:
We always have to consider the situations in which our technology will be used, so that we can offer people the best security and safety for what they need, […] That’s why we build our services and tools to help people remain in control and protect their accounts.
The new tools allow users to flag posts that contain bullying or identify suicidal posts. They are also providing hotline services to deal with these situations. The Safety Center also links various resources including an End LGBT Online Bullying PDF and links to UK Safer Internet Centre and Childnet International.
Facebook’s Bullying Issues
None the less, on-going bullying and safety controversies currently beleaguer Facebook:
- At present German prosecutors are investigating Facebook executives for failing to remove hate-speech and racist materials.
- The new Facebook Live feature has also been under scrutiny, with at least one suicide having been broadcast through it.
- A man in Bournemouth, UK has recently been convicted of using fake Facebook profiles to groom underage girls.
- A current trend of undertaking dangerous stunts in exchange for likes has been growing in Vietnam. One man has set himself on fire as a result of receiving 40,000 likes, and another stabbed himself for 88,000 likes.
While it is great news that Facebook is taking on-board the duty to tackle cyber safety and bullying issues, it is clear that there is still a long way to go.