back to article Facebook faces Home Sec over lack of 'panic button'

Facebook will today meet with Home Secretary Alan Johnson to explain its refusal to publish a "panic button" that would refer users to CEOP, the national online anti-paedophile agency. Johnson has said he sees no good reason for the refusal. Facebook believes its own safety mechanisms are effective. The meeting follows recent …


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  1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    Good luck with that

    "Ahead of the meeting this morning, Allan said he hoped to have a "constructive discussion" with the Home Secretary."

    And this afternoon, I am hoping to have constructive discussions with a horse, the sky and the number six.

  2. Matt Brigden

    we need a what now ?

    Whats wrong with the report link already there? . How retarded is this country becoming that theres such a huge need for nanny buttons everywhere . Simple answer if you don't want your kids in trouble online then sit next to them . Your judgement is always going to be better than some idiot button .

    A lot of parents are lulled by the fact the kids have net access at school so its ok . What they fail to realise is the school has a high grade filter sat between little johnny and the interwibble . If he types pussy into google he gets fluffy kittens . Little johnny comes home fires up the pc and types pussy into google your going to end up explaining bukkake to an 8 year old .

    I have several pcs here . All bar one are password protected so the kids cant get on them . The kids pc is in the living room and is locked to parental controls that mean they get access to Cbeebies and a few kid sites . No google,facebook nada . If they have school work requiring google searches they sit next to me on my pc and I help them . I may be deluded but isnt that called responsible parenting ?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    he's worse than Jacqui Smith

    "Johnson has said he sees no good reason for the refusal. "

    The fact that it's that an IT-illiterate ex-postman asking for it is a good enough reason for starters.

    1. Mark 65

      Beat me to it

      The guy's obviously never heard a political bandwagon travelling at full tilt

    2. Mark 65


      "I may be deluded but isnt that called responsible parenting ?"

      Good grief no. If more people were like you Labour would have been out of power about 8 years ago. Where would we all be then. Tsk, I ask you.

    3. MinionZero
      Big Brother

      @"huge need for nanny buttons everywhere"

      A big part of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four is about getting people to police themselves and others around them. The thing is these "panic buttons" will be brought in for all well and good reasons (at first), but then we all know feature creep will continue, giving us a slide towards buttons and ways to report ever more possible crimes, plus even just thought crimes, including political thought crimes, as we all slide towards ever more ways for effectively government informants to use these "panic buttons" and before you know it companies are offering better profiling technology to partly automate these panic buttons, and then we fall totally into the world George Orwell described.

      The danger of course is, as the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” because out of good intentions we also slide inexorably towards a world with an ever more powerful minority holding ever greater control over an ever more spied on and repressed majority of people, used ever more for the personal gain of that ever more powerful minority and no one can stop it, until that is, everyone if forced to stand together to oppose the powerful minority, to finally (once again) reset their level of power over the majority, by which time its to late to do that easily.

      Sadly every few generations the majority of people forget the dangers and don't believe the dangers of allowing a minority of society such power over the majority, until that is they see for themselves just how bad life is getting. Then sadly the majority has to finally fight to reset the level of power and control over them. (After all its not as if our rich corrupt elite are robbing money from tax payers for themselves and to give millions, even billions of more tax payers money to help earn rich banker friends of politicians millions out of our tax money, thereby demonstrating a behavior far more like a Kleptocracy than a Democracy. But then a Democracy was simply a convenient way, (created so long ago) to placate the majority of people into thinking they have a say in how the country is run, when in fact all they have a choice of is which group of greedy narcissist power hungry control freaks they let into power. All the narcissist control freaks want power, (and their narcissist behavior gives them a competitive advantage in gaining power over others), so is it any wonder society keeps getting redefined into ways to give the people in power what they want, which is more power.

      So is it any wonder the people in power seek to exploit and abuse ever more (and better) technology to increase their personal gain from having such power over all of us. But then they tell us in typically Machiavellian ways, that its all done for us, when its really done for them.

      After all citizen, we spy to protect you.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    The button is pointless

    "Oh, I think this person is a paedophile, but because there is no panic button for me to report them, I will go meet up with them in person so they can rape me"

    Kids *don't know* that somebody is a paedophile before they go meet them, so why would they press a panic button? It's a totally retarded concept, dreamt up by idiots. Utter mind numbingly stupid idiots.

    On Facebook you'd just end up with countless prats reporting their friends as paedophiles for a "joke".

    1. Mark 65


      It is worth keeping in mind that the unfortunate soul in this case was 17. That'd be 1 year older than the age of consent and 1 less than full adulthood. Not that this justifies what happened but highlights what part stupidity/carelessness/gullibility plays when some evil shite is intent on committing such a crime. We're not talking about a 10 or 11 year old (or younger) here, we are talking about someone who should have had more common sense.

  5. Stef 4
    Thumb Down

    How exactly...

    ... would a panic button have helped Ashleigh Hall?

    If they are going to bring real-life examples into it, the least they can do is actually make hem relevant.

    1. PirateSlayer
      Thumb Up


      In the same way that ID cards would have prevented 9/11!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No good reason for refusal.

    How about "fuck off, we'll run our private business how we'd like, not how you'd like, we're not breaking any laws, so keep your grubby beak out of it, numbnuts."?

    Most importantly, how long into the talks until he gets on his little fascist podium and threatens to blacklist the site entirely under the Won't Somebody Think Of The Children Act (2009)? How long until Darth "Denies Any Wrongdoing" Mandelson threatens them with some new amendment to the Digital ArseFuckery Act?

  7. Elmer Phud


    Panic is exactly what idiots like Johnson (great name for a prick like him) are doing.

    I look forward to the 'Oh, there's my teacher. Let's report him as a pedo' form so many teenagers.

    Facebook has an age policy - that people sign up to though rarely look at. If a parent complains that thier 10yr old doesn't like what they are seeing then the parent needs a slap for ignoring thier child.

    Amazing how people go on about 'freedom' untl they get paid as ministers.

  8. censored

    Facebook murder??

    1. The girl wasn't murdered on Facebook. She was murdered in real life. If she'd met her killer in a pub, would people be bleating about a pub panic button for when you're chatted up by a weirdo?

    2. If you're clever enough to click a panic button, you're clever enough not to meet them and let them murder you.

    1. Havin_it


      "...would people be bleating about a pub panic button for when you're chatted up by a weirdo?"

      OH GOD, YES. I'd also like them at my bus stop, the shop where I work, and the 2nd-floor landing of my building, please.

      [mostly a joke ... mostly]

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Not breaking any laws yet

      You may have noticed the way things have gone recently.

      UK.Gov wants industries to adopt a voluntary code, which is of questionable use.

      Industries see the lack of use, compared to the substantial cost, and say "No, we're not doing that."

      UK.Gov sees that nobody has adopted the voluntary code, and pushes through legislation forcing industries to do what they don't want to, because it's useless and costly.

  9. The Original Ash

    Ripe for abuse

    Reasons idiots will press this button, resulting in massive increases in wasted investigation time and tax payer money:

    - They said I look pretty

    - They have shifty eyes / eyes too close together

    - Their glasses are a little rapey

    - They are wearing a trench coat

    - There is a picture of them on a beach with children present

    - I have a chip on my shoulder

    - My friend said so


    How about schooling kids about using the internet responsibly and safely, and keeping parents informed about ways to interact with their children regarding this technology?

    As always, this is a problem solved by EDUCATION, NOT LEGISLATION.

    1. MinionZero
      Big Brother

      @"As always, this is a problem solved by EDUCATION, NOT LEGISLATION."

      Unfortunately power hungry control freaks only see solutions that involve them gaining more power and control, i.e. legislate to control.

      Which is why they fail to solve things and also end up making matters worse with their controls becoming an additional source of social problems.

    2. Adam Salisbury

      You forgot one

      Right between glasses and trenchcoat (quite literally) is an unmistakable hallmark of any peado - the beard!

  10. mittfh

    Never suspected...

    "It has been reported that Hall also spoke to her killer...via MSN, which publishes the CEOP button. It seems she never suspected his approaches."

    So precisely what difference would have been made by forcing FaceBook to publish the CEOP button? None! As far as I can tell, the only point of the CEOP button is so the company can claim "We're doing everything we can to combat paedophiles - look, we even publish this button as recommended by the UK Government!".

    In reality, you can almost guarantee that if they are persuaded to publish it, CEOP will be inundated with false positives - teenagers can be incredibly vindictive when they want to be ("I don't like you, so I'm going to report you to CEOP! That'll teach you for dissing me!")...

  11. Rob Crawford

    Once again

    the government say do it our way and never mind the reality.

    Oh yeah a panic button will fix it, yeah right of course it will.

    I wonder how much Jim Gambles team(I remember when he was a cop over here and he loved the media attention) they where charged for creating the 'Panic Button'

    I hate to say it, but some people need an IQ higher than their age rather than a panic button

  12. McMoo

    There already is one...

    .... in the top right hand corner, a wee red 'X'

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Never thought I'd support Facebook ...

    ..but here I do.

    This is an interesting collision going to happen. The media-led "think of the children" frenzy, vs. the juggernaut of "commercial possibilities" from social networking. Who will win ?

    I suspect Facebook have already twigged what's in the offing (the old canard about frogs in boiling water). *If* they accept the governments "suggestion" they do something "for the children" then they are starting the bend-over pose ...

    The fact that CEOP is a shadowy lobbiest type NGO is all the more reason to refer them to Arkell v. Pressdram.

    The UK currently governs by statute and common-law (although I can see this changing if zanuLabour get back in). Which means anything not illegal, is permitted. Facebook have done nothing illegal, and as long as there is no legal requirement for the panic button, they are quite entitled to decide if they want to offer it or not.

  14. Elmer Phud

    Panic again

    Of course, there is no possibility of a kid clicking on interesting looking links and then the CEOP button being re-directed to a porn site - is there?

  15. dreadful scathe


    I cant help but read any complaints from CEOP about companies not doing what they say, as blatant self-publicity for political reasons. Jim Gambles constant complaining about companies disagreements being "beyond logic" and that there is "no legitimate reason" not to do what he says, simply sounds arrogant and offensive to companies like facebook who do take online protection and complaints seriously. Does facebook handle 'protection' issues better than CEOP? Should we just assume no ?

  16. Cameron Colley

    Fuck off Alen!

    Why don't you ask Ashleigh Hall if she would have used the report button? What's that? You can't? She fell for an online conman who killed her? Doesn't that mean, then, that she wouldn't have pushed your stupid fucking button in the first place you moronic piece of excrement?

  17. Anonymous Coward

    stupid and pointless

    stupid and pointless - if the people are dumb enough to go and meet someone then how are they going to even think that its a danger and press the panic button? what'll the panic button do for the really vulnerable? absolutely nothing.

    the government has more important issues to deal with than telling private companies what they should put onto their web pages.

    this push into nanny state is retarded and ill-thought logic.

    instead of stupid buttons, kids should be taught about the web and how there are nasty people out there - and at least be supervised

  18. Anonymous Coward

    I have a Cunning plan...

    Let Alan Johnson have his way, then we all go to his personal and profession facebook page (and every other money grabbing "snout in trough" MP) and click the nice new shiny red button.

    I dare say we'll get a few deviants in there, MP's and perversions are never far from the tabloids, but it it's got to be worth it...

    1. MadonnaC


      I have a feeling that many of those report will end up being true......

      .... Hmm.. Let's have the button, and decimate^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H annihilate the fat cats

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    missed opportunity?

    Why has nobody coded a facebook "CEOP" app that displays the button which redirects the user to a helpful page full of advertisements for them to click merrily on.

    I ..

    Hang on, I'll be right back.....

  20. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    Gamble's Empire Building again...

    Jim Gamble (the man who brought you Operation Ore) wants to get Facebook to sign up because it will make his CEOP Empire a bit bigger since he can then say to everyone else "Well Facebook have signed up to this, so if they can do it, you can too, and it's For The Children!"

    He probably won't be happy until every site that a child might access has a "We love CEOP" button on it and then he'll know his job is secure because they'll be inundated with thousands of spurious reports which they'll have to investigate.

    Perish the thought that we might actually try *educating* children about the online risks instead of just passing more stupid legislation which will protect nobody...

  21. Colin Guthrie

    Jim Gamble is a nutjob

    I've listened to interviews with him on the radio and he's a complete tosser. He is completely tunnel visioned about the effects this button would have and he completely misses the point about online security.

    This button doesn't solve anything. It just gives parents some a completely false sense of security about their childrens' online activities.

    A "panic" button? Who the hell would literally sit there in their own home, in front of their own computer and literally "panic" that the evil person is going to get them? If you are stupid enough to go meet them and they turn out to be a nonce, *that's* the time to panic. Where is your stupid button then Jim?

    Honestly, stop peddling us this bullshit line and put your resources into doing something actually useful to protect children, like better education and training in schools.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward





    I'm being raped by UK.GOV new internet laws!!!




    seconds later my internet gets disconnected and a letter pops from the letter box saying... that I was downloading too many PANICs that were copyright of UK.GOV.

  23. lukewarmdog

    Close social networking sites

    1) get the CEOP button on there

    2) wait for all the kids to report everyone all the time for nothing

    3) close the site for wasting police time.

    Go go Allan.

    1. Merchman

      re: Close social networking sites

      You forgot:

      4) Profit!

      (at least for the idiots thinking up these ideas).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      no no

      3) Prosecute all the kids under some law or another where we don't need a jury (cf the Twatter who was going to blow the airport up), thereby meeting the crime detection targets. Fiendishly clever, these governments.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Erm, She Wasn't a child

    There is an argument for a Darwin Button, as this wasn't some young child, she was 17 years old and emotive discourse aside frankly should have known better. Unfortunately we are no longer allowed to have rational discussions or apportion any blame to the individual when avoidable crimes occur because the likes of the Daily Mail ensure it is always someone elses fault.

    Whilst her murder is no doubt upsetting to those who knew her for which I have sympathy, the fact remains that she placed herself in a sutation that she could have avoided by having just a modicum of common sense. Whilst other agencies, like the police, may be partially culpable, the reality is this has more to do with her lack of judgement than the medium through which she made that judgement.

    What we really need is a panic button to report Daily Mail acolytes for immediate re-education given they are a clear and present danger to sensible debate and legislation. Moreover, if a panic button is required to combat abuse, then surely the home secretary should be meeting with the Catholic Church to have them installed in their establishments, statistically this would have a far greater impact.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Ah Facebook

    Just like a puss filled boil seconds from bursting.

    Me? I'm getting the hell out o' the way!

  26. Anonymous Coward

    A Douglas Adams approach would be better...

    ...I'd definitely support a 'Don't Panic' button.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know its a low tech method

    But when I was a kid I was taught to be wary of strangers.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Oh! no ... no button

    Does CEOP really think facebook users don't know that CEOP's URL is ?

    What's the big deal with having a button on facebook, surely a worried person can use their URL to report or chat with an adviser or whatever??

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    The was some CEOP guy on the BBC News today, about the only thing that he said that I remember is that people buy records on the internet (how you used to buy music before CDs and tapes) ... can't really take anything he says seriously now.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Mate of mine interviewed with CEOP

    My mate interviewed for something research-related with CEOP inside the last 2 years. He came back saying they were a bunch of old-guard coppers who'd be happiest if the net didn't exist. Complete bunch of luddites.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Go fuck yerself

    They should tell this meddlng misisterial type to go fuck himself and how dare he meddle in the day to day runnings of a public company.

    If they get the chane to kick him in the balls as well I would consider that a bonus.

  32. Anonymous Coward


    Why should I have to have a CEOP button on my Facebook profile? All my friends are my age or they're my stepson and stepdaughters age (mid 20s). I don't just friend people or let complete strangers friend me.

    So why should I have to have a "panic" button there? Oh that's right, because in the eyes of our rabid Home Secretary, and a large raft of other people in the child protection "business", we're all paedophiles - its just that we haven't realised it.

    I tell you what Mr Johnson - I'll be happy to have a CEOP button on my FB profile when ALL MPs have them plastered on each and every page of their own websites - and that includes your own. Because if I'm a latent paedophile then you are too.

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