Facebook launched a new page on Thursday in its Family Safety Center that’s dedicated to preventing cyber bullying and educating users about its risks. October is National Bullying Awareness Month, and in the wake of the recent Amanda Todd tragedy, Facebook’s timing with the new page could not have been better.
In March of last year, Facebook introduced the Social Reporting tool, a feature that allows users to police themselves and resolve their own conflicts. In a statement on Thursday, Facebook touted the success of the feature. “As a result of the latest research, we’ve rolled out new experiences for 13 and 14 year olds,” the statement said. “The data is showing exciting initial results: we are seeing a 4X increase in people finding a resolution in the flow and 81% say they had a positive experience when engaging with the self-resolution tools on Facebook.”
The Anti-Bullying page is undoubtedly a public relations win for Facebook, a company that has come under intense scrutiny for its privacy issues and lack of response to offensive content on its pages. However, it’s nonetheless a big step forward for the company in acknowledging that many instances of cyber-bullying and abuse occur on their platform.
“Taking down harassing online comments won’t necessarily help people solve the underlying problem in the offline world,” Facebook said in a statement about Social Reporting last year. That may be true, but eliminating the hateful content is a huge step toward solving the problem overall.
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