A former Facebook employee speaks

This article by an ex Facebook employee is definitely worth a read.

The headline says it all. Who knew?

Hitherto every discussion about what to do to promote children’s rights online or make the internet better and safer for children started from the basis that multi stakeholder voluntarism and industry self-regulation were the obvious and preferred way to go. This certainly made things easier for governments but that experiment has run its course and been found wanting too many times in too many ways.

Trust of high tech is at an all time low. It cannot be rebuilt against a background of near total ignorance of what is truly going on, particularly inside the bigger companies that dominate so much of the internet.

We have no context or means of judging what actual priority is being given to addressing children’s interests as internet users. This has to change and it will not be acceptable if we simply allow companies to tell us, unilaterally, how they propose to be more transparent in the future. There must be some external, independent validation.

However, I don’t  think we should rule out any  role for self-regulation in respect of any and every issue  to do with children and the internet but the case for it needs to be demonstrated case by case against a background of a much higher and wider level of certainty and transparency about what companies are doing.  In November, 2017 we are a very long way from that.



About John Carr

John Carr is one of the world's leading authorities on children's and young people's use of digital technologies. He is Senior Technical Adviser to Bangkok-based global NGO ECPAT International, Technical Adviser to the European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online, which is administered by Save the Children Italy and an Advisory Council Member of Beyond Borders (Canada). Amongst other things John is or has been an Adviser to the United Nations, ITU, the European Union, the Council of Europe and European Union Agency for Network and Information Security and is a former Executive Board Member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety. He is Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety. John has advised many of the world's largest internet companies on online child safety. In June, 2012, John was appointed a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. This was renewed in 2018. More: http://johncarrcv.blogspot.com
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