Facebook Declines 'Panic Button' For Software

Facebook has stated that it shall favour "under the radar" checks using sophisticated algorithms to protect against online predators.

The social media site has moved away from the Ceop's panic button which has been adopted by some competitors, and is instead favouring a more covert operation.

Earlier this week Facebook announced an improved reporting procedure and a 24/7 police hotline. However today it has announced that it shall also put a number of algorithms in place in order to flag up suspicious activity from its users.

The site has stated that "suspicious behaviour" shall include users who have had a great deal of declined friend requests as well as users with friends of mainly a single gender.

Max Kelly, a former FBI agent who move to Facebook five years ago, explained that the site analyses users' actions and compares that behaviour to a average set of actions. He said, "The site makes an assessment about that behaviour and if it is too far from normal mode, will degrade the user's experience. So if they are sending too many messages, the site might present a warning or show some captchas [the distorted text which a human can read but a computer can't]."

Ceop had received 253 reports of grooming on Facebook in the first quarter of this year and 75 per cent of those had come through the Ceop site. Dr Zoe Hilton of Ceop stated, "That means those people had to leave Facebook, find our site and then click through 'report a concern', and that's too many stages."

Facebook's competitor MySpace doesn't feature a Ceop logo, while Bebo includes a small Ceop logo on every profile. The branded links have significantly increased the number of reports being sent to Ceop since they were introduced.

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