Actually? They didn’t change things. They added things. Plain and simple. They introduced a few safety features that are quite stunning, to be honest.
Perhaps the first and more impressive is the Family Safety Center. There, you’ll find useful articles for parents and teens and videos on safety and privacy, as well as many other resources. In the coming weeks, Facebook also claims to be providing a free, downloadable guide for teachers, written by safety experts Linda Fogg Phillips, B.J. Fogg and Derek Baird. The guide will help educators with social media in the classroom.
The second unveiling is a new social reporting tool that allows people to notify a member of their community, in addition to Facebook, when they see something they don’t like. Safety and child psychology experts tell us that online issues are frequently a reflection of what is happening offline. By encouraging people to seek help from friends, Facebook hopes that many of these situations can be resolved face to face. The impact has been encouraging, and FB is expanding social reporting to other major sections of Facebook, including Profiles, Pages and Groups.
And lastly, FB is launching Two Factor Authentication, a new feature to help prevent unauthorized access to your account. If you turn this new feature on, FB will ask you to enter a code anytime you try to log into Facebook from a new device. This additional security helps confirm that it’s really you trying to log in. WARNING: it can become annoying though if you are constantly logging in from any computer you touch.
I personally think these changes are much needed. Social reporting is little more than social policing and who better to protect a community than those that live within it? Now I can not only untag a picture I would prefer had stayed offline but I can untag it and report the person for a type of harassment. I can report the picture as offensive and bullying, and then automatically block whomever is bullying me. This can be reported to both Facebook as well as a trusted friend; whomever that may be for you.
I think this amounts to a crackdown by Facebook on the problem of online bullying, and I’m incredibly happy to see it take this step in particular.
What do you think of the new features? Can you see their benefit? Are there other steps you think Facebook should take to protect its users?