The sincerity of social networking sites regarding Internet safety can be questioned after the latest news from Facebook. See this TechDirt post:
During a week of taking a public relations beating and a subsequent user rebellion over claiming perpetual ownership rights to the content posted by its users, Facebook followed MySpace's lead to identify and remove known, convicted sexual predators from its site. What's curious is that out of Facebook's 100+ million subscribers only 5600 were registered sexual predators. By contrast, MySpace found over 90,000 -- this also seems really low when compared to their number of subscribers, which they put at 200+ million.
5600 -- Really? That's about as believable as Alex Rodriguez's partial-kind-of-not-so-much-yeah-I-was-young-and-dumb (hey it worked for Michael Phelps) explanation of his steroid use. One has to ask several questions:
- How hard did Facebook really look?
- How committed is Facebook to Internet safety?
- Is Facebook really concerned about the safety of their users?
We should probably commend the social networks for however reluctantly beginning to take small steps towards making their product safer. However it clearly further identifies the need for parents to protect their kids online.
YouDiligence (www.youdiligence.com) helps parents with this daunting task. YouDiligence doesn't rely on the honesty of sexual deviants to identify themselves. It works even if false identities are being used. YouDiligence scans the content itself of what is posted on kids pages, helping parents identify suspicious and troubling posts. Parents have the control to customize the search criteria that's used to alert them to troubling posts by their children and others on their children's sites. Once an issue is identified, YouDiligence emails the parent an alert in real-time.
BSOT = Be Safe Online Tonight