Thursday, March 24, 2011

Facebook Removes 20,000 User Profiles Per Day

Facebook announced this week that it removes more than 20,000 profiles from the site per day. The site claimed that these removals are usually due to different kinds of infractions, like users who are underage.

On Monday, March 23, Mozelle Thompson, Facebook’s chief privacy advisor, met with the Australian Parliament’s cyber safety committee to discuss some Internet-related security issues that the site has been facing. There were also representatives from Microsoft and Yahoo who were at the discussion.

Thompson really began making headlines when the Daily Telegraph quoted him stating that Facebook “removes 20,000 people a day, people who are underage.

In the same statement that Thompson began making headlines for, he continues saying all of these removals are due to a variety of different policy violations including spam, inappropriate content and underage use. Underage users would be anybody who is under the age of thirteen. "There are people who lie. There are people who are under 13 [accessing Facebook],” said Thompson.

"At Facebook, we take safety very seriously and we were pleased to participate in a hearing in Australia to talk about our safety policies, practices and systems," the company said. "As we explained in the hearing, these efforts include removing numerous accounts every day for activities including spamming, posting inappropriate content, and violating age restrictions."

Facebook went on to say that the average 20,000 users that the site removes every day do "not include the proactive efforts that actually prevent fake or underage accounts from being created."

Seven million Australians access Facebook every day, nine million access it each week and nearly 11 million visit the site each month.

It was suggested by the Labor MP, Graham Perrett, to Mr. Thompson that maybe teenagers should be forced to get some kind of parental permission before they join Facebook.

The Daily Telegraph also told the committee that they planned to soon hire an Australian employee, who would be based in Australia, to deal with any policy issues. Currently, Facebook has about a dozen Australian-based employees that deal with selling advertising, but they don’t have anyone to deal with any of the local complaints and issues.

Chair of the cyber-safety committee Dana Wortley said, "We know there are potential risks that young people face including cyber-bullying, identity theft and privacy issues, illegal content and contact from online predators."

I think it’s great that Facebook has realized their needs in Australia and plans on taking action. It will just be interesting to see how long it takes before they hire the person needed to handle everything.

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