Facebook Notification: Chester the Molester Would Like to Add You as a Friend …
Facebook’s executive management lineup doesn’t yet include a chief security officer, but it may soon, now that the New York attorney general’s office is investigating Facebook for failing to protect minors.
In an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said that within days of setting up fake profiles for 12- to 14-year-old users, investigators “received numerous sexual solicitations from adults sent to several of the underage profiles.” Worse, when the investigators complained to the company, it often responded lethargically or failed to act at all. Which belies Facebook’s portrayal of itself as a safer alternative to MySpace.
“The OAG [Office of the Attorney General] is concerned that in Facebook’s efforts to grow, the company may be giving a lower priority to the safety and welfare of its users, and in particular, underage users,” Cuomo wrote. “To be clear, within the constraints of the law, Facebook has the right to operate any type of Web site it deems fit. However, it does not have the right to represent that its site is safe and that it promptly responds to complaints when such statements are not accurate.”
And so the New York AG’s office has subpoenaed information about Facebook’s safety and security measures. Which was apparently enough to rouse the company from its $15 billion valuation reveries.
“We take the concerns of the Office of the New York Attorney General very seriously,” said Facebook spokeswoman Brandee Barker. “As our service continues to grow, so does our responsibility to our users to empower them with the tools necessary to communicate efficiently and safely. We strive to uphold our high standards for privacy on Facebook and are constantly working on processes and technologies that will further improve safety and user control on the site. We are committed to working closely with all the state attorneys general to maintain a trusted environment for all Facebook users and to demonstrate the efficacy of these efforts.”