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News Corp., Respond To Safety Concerns As Some Ad Buyers Fret

Faced with widening ripples of concern about as a safe space for teens, the site and its owner, News Corp., are stepping up public efforts. In an addition to an education campaign we’ve mentioned here before, plans include a “safety czar” and could stretch to closing the site to those over 18, according to the Journal. (That last wouldn’t seem to solve the problem that already exists — making sure subscribers are the age they claim.) As has been clear since Fox Interactive acquired to jumpstart News Corp.’s internet strategy, the company asserts control at the risk of alienating the community. That complicates the way the safety efforts are handled to some extent; teens who feel constrained have other places to go. Don’t tackle it hard enough and you could scare advertisers off. The Journal says buyers at some larger agencies are “leery” and that Universal McCann is thinking about quick cancel clauses but News Corp. says no advertisers have cancelled. (The company also says it’s had no negative feedback from advertisers but this is the kind of story that could change that, especially if buyers think they can get a better deal.)
Meanwhile, the Journal also reports that CEO Chris DeWolfe and two News Corp. execs met with Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal, who says he’ll “be making some counterproposals that are more demanding. … You will not persuade me that they can’t do a better job of it. Right now it’s the Wild West.”

Related: Continues To Fascinate, Draw Coverage

@ Media Week: Levinsohn: Social Portal; UK, China; “Family Guy” Originals Online; More