Facebook has removed a video clip showing a woman's decapitation and issued new rules about what can be shared on its site. Stephen Balkam also welcomed the move. "The Family Online Safety Institute is encouraged by the changes that Facebook announced today to the posting of graphic or disturbing material," he said in a statement.
Facebook found itself in a fresh controversy over a graphically violent video Tuesday, as the world's largest social networking company changed its mind -- twice -- on an earlier decision to block the posting of a clip showing a person being beheaded. Stephen Balkam said that said he complained about the video last spring and was surprised and upset to see it resurface.
Google has started testing new parental control features for its Chrome web browser and Chrome OS laptops to allow easy restriction of content and services. "Chromebooks with this kind of potential for parental internet control, as well as Amazon's Kindle with its family settings, are a tremendous development," said Stephen Balkam, chief executive of Family Online Safety Institute.
The Guardian reports that David Cameron has accused Facebook of being irresponsible following its decision to allow a video of a beheading to remain on its website. Stephen Balkam said that the social network should rethink and consider how it uses and adopts its own policies.
BBC News reports that Facebook is allowing videos showing people being decapitated to be posted and shared on its site once again. The social network had introduced a temporary ban in May following complaints that the clips could cause long-term psychological damage. Stephen Balkam gave his reaction to the development.
The Wall Street Journal notes criticism of Facebook's recent privacy changes for teens who use the social network. Stephen Balkam gave his thoughts on the changes.
Stephen Balkam comments on the changes to teens' privacy settings by Facebook, noting that Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani activist, would not have been able to use Facebook as a broad communication channel under the previous policy. Teens will now be able to share their posts with a broader audience, should they choose, but will also have a more limited default setting.
Stephen Balkam comments on the proposed bill by California legislators to give minors the legal right to scrub away their online indiscretions. The legislation puts the state in the middle of a turbulent debate over how best to protect children and their privacy on the Internet, and whether states should even be trying to tame the Web. "This is well-meaning legislation but there are concerns about it," said Stephen Balkam.
Stephen Balkam discusses tech companies' embrace of anti-bullying activity as a response following tragic circumstances. “It’s like a cycle,” he says. “I’d say it’s more like a spiral than reinventing the wheel every time. The newer app companies are more aware that safety, trust, and privacy will come to bite them if they don’t deal with it upfront.”