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Terry Goddard Announces Agreement with Facebook to Better Protect Kids

(Phoenix, Ariz. – May 8, 2008) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced that the social networking Web site Facebook has agreed to changes to better protect children from Internet predators and inappropriate content.

Goddard joined 48 other state Attorneys General in this agreement, which is similar to one reached in January with MySpace. MySpace agreed to head a task force, which Facebook has joined, to explore and develop age and identity identification tools for social networking sites. Goddard will participate as a task force member.

Facebook agreed to:

  • Provide automatic warning messages when a child is in danger of giving personal information to an unknown adult.
  • Restrict the ability of users to change their listed ages.
  • Act more aggressively to remove inappropriate content and groups from the site.
  • Require third-party vendors to adhere to Facebook’s safety and privacy guidelines.

"This is another milestone in our efforts to ensure young people are safe on the Internet,” Goddard said. “Facebook’s agreement to embrace key principles of Internet safety means that two of the largest social networking sites in the U.S. have now voluntarily set standards aimed to protect young people. We encourage other networking sites to join us in this important effort.”

Under the changes, the first time a Facebook user wants to change his or her age, Web site staff will review the person’s profile to determine whether the change is appropriate.

In addition, companies offering Facebook user services -- called “widgets” -- will now have to implement and enforce Facebook’s safety and privacy guidelines.

Facebook also has agreed to maintain a list of pornographic Web sites and regularly sever any links to such sites. It will remove groups for incest, pedophilia, cyberbullying and other violations of the site’s terms of services, as well as expel from the site individual violators of those terms.

Facebook also will:

  • More prominently display safety tips.
  • Require users under 18 to affirm they have read Facebook’s safety tips when they sign up.
  • Regularly review models for abuse reporting.

In 2006, the state Attorneys General created a working group to make social networking safer. A copy of the agreement is attached.