Facebook meets with online safety experts in south-eastern Europe

  • Awareness
  • 02/05/2017
  • Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre

Online safety experts from 10 countries recently participated in a regional meeting with Facebook managers. Taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria on 24 March 2017, representatives came from Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia and Serbia, with the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre (SIC) acting as host. Gabriella Cseh, Head of Public Policy for Central and Eastern Europe for Facebook, opened the meeting. She thanked the Bulgarian SIC for its long-term cooperation and its assistance in organising the international event.

Experts from each country presented their own national context and identified the main concerns related to the use of social networks by children and young people. Key issues included fake accounts, cyberbullying, sextortion, sexting, hate speech, radicalisation, fake news, pornography, hacking, and declaring a false age by children under age of 13.

Julie de Bailliencourt, Safety Policy Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Facebook, highlighted the fact that Facebook hires teams of specialists who speak different languages to work on inappropriate content reports, and that the company does not use an automated system for processing these reports. She went on to state that the Facebook team especially values signals and feedback received by experts and NGOs.

A lively discussion on the risks identified by the participants then followed. The special importance of work to protect those people from vulnerable groups was emphasised. Facebook representatives confirmed that this is their priority and they assured the participants that the company works closely with NGOs on this issue. Regarding the use of hate speech, Facebook's Privacy Policy Manager added that the company's policy is to remove offensive content targeting specific people who are associated with negative stereotypes about the group they belong to. At the same time, Facebook does not censor the expression of opinion, even negatively, when it focuses not on specific people from vulnerable groups but on a system of ideas.

Find out more about the work of the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services.

Find out more about other Safer Internet Centres in Europe.

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