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Marshalled by the European Commission, 17 web and social network providers have agreed to a five-point plan to protect under-18s online. Signatories are Arto, Bebo, Dailymotion, Facebook, Giovani.it, Google/YouTube, Hyves, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Europe, MySpace, Nasza-klaza.pl, Netlog, One.lt, Skyrock, StudiVZ, Sulake/Habbo Hotel, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Europe and Zap.lu. They agreed to limit children’s exposure to cyber-bullying and grooming by…
— Providing an easy to use and accessible “report abuse” button.
— Making sure under-18s’ profiles are set to “private” by default. “This will make it harder for people with bad intentions to get in touch with the young person,” the commission says.
— Ensuring under-18s’ private profiles are not searchable either on the websites or via search engines.
— Guaranteeing that privacy options are prominent and accessible at all times, so that users can easily work out if just their friends, or the entire world, can see what they post online.
— Preventing under-age users from using their services – eg. if a social networking site targets teenagers over 13, it should be difficult for people below that age to register.