Facebook’s new Family Safety Center

By Anne Collier

I serve on the site’s Safety Advisory Board so of course I have a bias, but where Facebook says (at the top of its new safety center), “We believe safety is a conversation and a shared responsibility among all of us,” belief and bias really aren’t at issue. You can see this is pure logic right? In today’s social, user-produced media environment, safety and privacy are by definition a shared proposition – and sometimes, when disagreements or conflict come up, a negotiation. A negotiation among Facebook friends when, for example, one friend can post and tag another friend in a photo that the “tagee” is embarrassed about. And sometimes a (hopefully mutually respectful) negotiation between parent and child. For example, this morning, for Guy Kawasaki, the author of a book I like, I uploaded a photo of my son and me with a piece of art that represents his book. My son’s in the photo because the author loves ice hockey, and my son’s a hockey player. So I thought it would be fun to help promote a good book in this very social-Web way that honors several interests and relationships. However – because I had a feeling it could be a bit embarrassing to my son to have it appear on his Facebook wall – I asked him if he was ok with being tagged in the photo. As I guessed, he kindly told me he’d prefer not being tagged, and what parent wouldn’t want to support a fair wish respectfully conveyed? So that’s what I mean about safety and privacy being a negotiation. I certainly don’t mean it’s necessarily the old-fashioned kind of negotiation between parties with competing interests. Sometimes, yes. But what it means more is: a collaborative negotiation of shared social lives, a negotiation that respectfully seeks to understand and honor all participants’ interests. Does that make sense? Anyway, check out the beautiful new, multimedia Family Safety Center. Facebook says it has four times the safety content of the previous version, with “cleaner, more navigable interfaces … [still helpfully] organized by audience type”: parents, teens, teachers, and law enforcement. [See also our “Parents’ Guide to Facebook.”]

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