Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is stepping out in front of online privacy and protection issues, even as the company is consistently dealing with privacy violations and reported hacks into profiles. The latest move by the company to show its renewed commitment to protecting personal information by advocating support for an online protection agreement that was signed by representatives of the European Union and United States.
The European Commission and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security signed a pact Monday in London that is supposed to align the two economic regions together in developing standards for protecting youth online. The EU is slated to hold a Safe Internet Day in February as part of promoting this initiative. The agreement is designed to “reduce the risks and maximize the benefits of the Internet for children.”
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg released a video statement on the company’s “Facebook Safety” Page, and the page posted this statement: “We’re delighted to support the joint declaration signed … between the European Commission and US Department of Homeland Security to raise awareness and work together on online safety for young people. At Facebook we also believe that safety is a shared responsibility and we are continually working on improving our tools to empower teens so that they can have a safe and fun experience on Facebook.”
What do you think of the agreement? Is this a public-relations move by Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) to help its image in the online privacy area, or is this something Facebook should be on the forefront in discussing? How would this be perceived by Facebook investors like billionaire Paul Tudor Jones of Tudor Investment Corporation?
The initiative is generally meant as a educational and informational opportunity, where the two entities would work together to teach children and parents about the risks on the Internet, the opportunities that are available, and to help them develop tools and strategies to keep the children safe when online. It also signifies better cooperation with international authorities to fight child sexual abuse that originates from online chat rooms or Internet predators.