Social networking site Facebook is ignoring users' complaints about paedophile threats, the UK's top child abuse investigator has revealed.
According to Jim Gamble, head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), more than 250 Facebook users have this year reported their concerns to the site, but are yet to receive a response.
AdvertisementGamble said that the complaints were pursued by Ceop and have led to police investigations into sex grooming, bullying and hacking, and some suspects have been arrested.
"The sort of thing I'm talking about is a mother calling us and saying her daughter has been talking to someone on Facebook she is worried about and she's reported it to Facebook and there is no response," Sky News quoted him as saying.
Last year, Ceop had 297 similar complaints from Facebook users, accusing the site of ignoring their reported concerns.
Gamble is to meet Facebook chiefs at their headquarters in Washington DC on April 12 to discuss the issue and press the company to adopt the Ceop panic button which gives children a shortcut to reporting concerns to police and other agencies.
"Facebook doesn't seem to understand that the button will be a deterrent to paedophiles," Gamble said.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson has urged Facebook to adopt the Ceop panic button, in line with other social network sites, such as MSN and Bebo.
Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, accused Facebook of being irresponsible.
"It seems so bizarre that they won't adopt the Ceop button. They will get more business because their site will be seen as safer," he said.
Facebook is refusing to bow to pressure and argues it has its own panic button and to add another would confuse users.
"We take the issue of safety very seriously, and recently met the Home Secretary to discuss online safety," a spokesman for Facebook said.
"We are due to meet with Ceop next week to talk them through our safety strategy.
"We will wait to have this meeting prior to sharing our plans more widely with the public soon afterwards," he added.
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