Facebook Imposes New Safety Guidelines

WASHINGTON — Social networking giant Facebook has entered into an agreement with the attorneys general from 49 states and the District of Columbia to make the site safer for underage users.

Facebook also has agreed to join an already existing task force to add age-verification software to social-networking websites. Social-networking rival MySpace originally formed the task force when it entered into a similar agreement with 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Some of the changes will affect how adult-industry professionals promote themselves using Facebook. Language in the new deal says that Facebook will seek to "more aggressively remove inappropriate" content from the site, but it doesn't specify what inappropriate content looks like.

Also, Facebook will now maintain a list of porngraphic websites and remove all links to such sites. As always, violators of Facebook's terms of service are in danger of being deleted from the site entirely.

Adult star Nikki Benz regularly promotes herself through her Facebook profile. She told XBIZ that despite the new rules, she's not worried about getting deleted, because her profile includes no links to adult sites and no nude shots of herself — and she plans to keep it that way.

"As for anything 'inappropriate' on my page, I don't have any nude pictures of me — only glamour shots, and those are always PG-13," she said. "You have to [follow the rules] on those sites. You have to have some kind of responsibility for what you upload."

Also as a part of the agreement, Facebook will:

• Provide automatic warning messages when an underage user is in danger of providing personal information to an adult.
• Restrict the ability of underage users to change their listed ages.
• Personally review all requests by users to change their age.
• Display safety tips more prominently.

In addition, all programmers and developers who build third-party applications, or widgets, for Facebook will have to review and adhere to the site's new, stricter safety guidelines.

Virginia Attorney General Bob McDonnell praised the new agreement.

“This is another positive step in our ongoing work to forge effective public-private partnerships in the effort to better safeguard children on the Internet,” he said.

The multistate coalition that promoted this new agreement is run by an executive committee that includes Connecticut, North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.


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