Mike Isaac

Recent Posts by Mike Isaac

Facebook’s New “Life-Saving” Tool? It Could Be for Fighting Cyberbullies.

Facebook isn’t doing many public appearances these days in the lead-up to its IPO. But that’s not stopping the company from teasing a new Facebook feature on live television.

Slated to air Tuesday evening, ABC News has snagged interviews with Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, in which the two will debut a mystery tool “which has the power to save lives,” according to the company.

I doubt it’s a Facebook-branded Life Alert bracelet — “I’ve been poked and I can’t get up!” — and Facebook is keeping mum on details until the interviews air.

My best guess? It’s most likely another project involving Facebook’s efforts to fight cyberbullying, that online scourge that has kids harassing one another across social networks.

It’s a logical move, especially after increased attention following the spate of suicides spurred by cyberbullying over the past few years. Not to mention the 20 million users under the age of 18 that regularly use Facebook. There’s also increased attention of late related to the documentary “Bully.”

Thus there is increasing pressure from governmental bodies due to the issue. Nearly every state is either working on or has already enacted legislation to combat cyberbullying, cyberharrassment or cyberstalking, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

To boot, this isn’t Facebook’s first anti-cyberbullying rodeo. Nearly a year ago today, Facebook introduced a suite of tools to combat cyberbullying on its site. And the company has moved toward strengthening those measures consistently over the past three years.

Facebook isn’t responding to my request for comment.

(Image courtesy of J_O_I_D/Flickr)

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik