Texas Refuses Facebook Friend Request

Dennis Faas's picture

Facebook has made a deal with state attorney governors to better protect child members from online predators. The site is developing a system to ensure new members are telling the truth about their age, and they'll also add in an automatic warning to under-18s whenever they are about to give personal information to an adult.

In addition, they'll crack down on members who change the date of birth listed on their profile.

As with a similar agreement made earlier this year by rivals MySpace, only Texas decided against signing-up. It's not yet clear why they've opted out this time, but in the MySpace case they felt the site wasn't doing enough and that signing the agreement would condone their lack of activity.

Despite Texas' opt-out, the new system will apply to members there, along with those outside the United States.

The deal follows an investigation last fall when New York's attorney general Andrew Cuomo had to issue a subpoena to get Facebook to assist him checking out claims of harassment among members.

Facebook's management used the deal to take a shot at MySpace, saying that while MySpace had to be forced to change their policies, most of the steps in the Facebook agreement had already been in the works. MySpace took the high ground, congratulating Facebook for making the Internet safer. (Source: news.com)

It's pretty clear Facebook is stepping up its public relations game: they've just hired Google's communications boss Elliot Schrage to be their new vice president of public policy. The firm says they've hired him to make sure they can grow without losing sight of their culture of openness. (Source: forbes.com)

If the rumors are true, Schrage's first task may be dealing with another concern of the attorney general. Supposedly, they've been questioning Facebook's Social Ads scheme, in which a member can sign up as a fan of a product and have their photo and name appear alongside adverts which then appear on their friend's pages.

Some legal experts believe Facebook isn't doing enough to make sure members understand how the scheme works, and that they might even be breaching the same privacy laws that stop companies using a celebrity's photo to 'endorse' a product without their express permission.

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