back to article Facebook battles attack by child protection chief

Facebook has defended itself against criticism from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) that it has refused to join a reporting scheme. Jim Gamble, the chief executive of CEOP, today took to the airwaves and newspaper pages to attack Facebook and MySpace for declining to publish his organisation's "CEOP …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I say

    I say they need a CEOP button on /b/

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Resources to react?

    A red button service sounds like a great idea - but do the resources exist to react properly and fully? Staff need to be available 24/7. They have to be able to filter the joke calls from the ones where there is real distress. They need to fend off those who are looking for free advice on regular computer maintenance problems.

    They then need to be able to evaluate the detail of the reasons behind the distress - and some of that may be well outside CEOP's remit. How long will each evaluation take - and how many CEOP people are available to do this at any one time? If the CEOP staff can't help - there is still a distressed child out there - what happens? Are there active arrangements for passing on to other agencies?

    In offering a red button service CEOP is taking on a great deal - and if can't deliver, the failure of promise might end up making a bad situation worse.

  3. John Square

    Can we have on here?

    The Moderatrix can be a bit... brusque sometimes.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    CEOP can handle it

    CEOP's reporting button leads first to a signposting service which directs people to whoever can help them most effectively. If users do proceed to report to CEOP then they'll find that the service does operate 24hrs a day. The call is prioritised and work can be offloaded to other forces or agencies if necessary. People making hoax request will almost certainly have their collars felt as all reports are followed up. From what I know of their operations, they have it well under control. Click the button and take a look.

    Jim Gamble is on the money with his comments.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I heard the interview with Mr Gamble on the radio this morning and I wonder if he might not be just a little self-serving. Someone in his position has a lot of reason to want to boost perception of a) the threat and b) the amount his organisation can contribute to reducing that threat.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Soon on Facebook

    a long line of national and international "report the kiddy/kiddyfiddler/nudie pic/spammer/lawyer" buttons that will completely obscure the fun drivvel my communitards put up.

    Great thinking :-/

  7. The Original Ash

    The reason is obvious, isn't it

    Facebook owners and employees are terrorists and want to blow up planes. Oh, wait, wrong straw man?

    Drop CEOP, pay Social Workers what they deserve for an incredibly dangerous and thankless job, and go after creators and distributors of indecent images of children, instead of creating rubbish laws which makes seeing images which you find extremely objectionable (even by accident, or malicious intent of another) a crime which gets you on the sex offenders register, which you are unable to report for exactly that reason.

  8. Owen Carter
    Big Brother

    So.. lets get this straight.

    The UK police want to 'in the name of child protection' get a button onto every UK myface users page.

    I just had a look at the CEOP page, apart from the 'my god they are using M.Mcann to jerk a tear' moment I could not find any info about the 'button'. I was hoping to find a way I could link it to my site of course.. I want to know what it is, just a graphic you host yourself and a link? or must you cross-site link to them (making it a webbug) or worse, a full-blown flash/java/whatever applet, allowing all kinds of mischief.

    Basically; if this is anything other than a self-hosted graphic and a url then they should steer really clear of it, police with intelligence community links, or those who work with them, are not the sort of people who should have any sort of ability to embed anything in anybody's website.

    Oh, and it sounds like Facebook already have a good system in place, properly resourced, and one which uses social networking technologies and will be more familiar to frightened social network users than a shiny page full of platitudes and piss-poor HR speak.

  9. Dan Herd

    AC @ 12:28

    Welcome to The Register, Jim (or someone who works for his organisation)

  10. The First Dave

    @Owen Carter

    "it sounds like Facebook already have a good system in place"

    I don't think that really applies to _anything_ Facebook does, or rather attempts.

  11. Number6

    Only in the UK?

    I assume they must detect it it's a UK IP address, what use is CEOP in other countries? Geographic location of IP address isn't always correct either.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Cry cry cry

    I've launched a new initiative and you wont support me so I'm going to bitch and moan about it on the radio!

    Thats what it sounds like to me... I mean, while I _DO_ support the trying to help people who are being harassed and attacked online, I _DONT_ agree that you should be able to condemn a company in public because they wont share their playground with you... they are their own companies who have their own structure and protocol for dealing with things like this and perhaps putting a big red button, or even a small one, wont tie in with their color and branding or perhaps they simply dont want to draw negative publicity by having a 'this site could get you harassed / stalked / decapitated' button on every page...

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Bluster & Hyperbole

    I, too, heard Mr Gamble on the Radio this morning (BBC Radio4). He sounded quite bullying himself - but that tends to be his calling card. Implicit in his comments was a suggestion that if any site refuses to host a CEOP 'panic button' they are failing in their duty of care to the young and there must, therefore, be something 'wrong' with them. It's no surprise to hear such attitudes from an organisation like CEOP, which has grown so powerful on the back of the current paedohysteria - and an almost wholly uncritical media.

    Mr Gamble, who's fondness for dropping 'keywords' into his interview responses ('predator', 'grooming', etc) is a past-master at hyping up the sensationalism - hardly surprising at a time when so many competing 'partner agencies' (another favourite Gambleism) are looking for funds from an ever-dwindling pot.

    I was surprised to hear him tell the BBC interviewer that the CEOP panic button receives 10,000 hits a month. Really? 10,000? A month? Naturally, the BBC interviewer let that little gem slip past completely unremarked upon. If it's true - and as ever with CEOP we have no mechanism for establishing that - then surely it represents a headline story of unimaginable proportions?

    Ironically, given the context, I have little doubt Facebook will eventually be bullied into having to accept CEOP's unwanted presence on their site: the Paedogeddon will brook no argument, no dissent, after all, and after Mr Gamble's tirade against them this morning on live radio (and no doubt by now across a more than accommodating media) I suspect they will have no option but to cave in to his demands or risk more name-calling in the future.

    In the end, it's worth remembering CEOP is a public/private company (and also part of the UK police service). Yes, it's a company. Mr Gamble is it's CEO. It receives the bulk of it's funding from the UK government (i.e. taxpayers) and from private sources (step forward Microsoft, BT, O2, Virgin, VISA, etc, etc) which all runs into £millions every year. It makes a bit of cash on the side flogging off training seminars, publications and instructional packs to 'stakeholders' (yes, there's another Gambleism). As a commercial concern, CEOP cannot insist companies like Facebook carry it's marque - but Mr Gamble seems to think they should be forced to do so. Of course, he knows that by wielding the trusty 'won't someone please think of children?' banner (along with his usual bluster and well-rehearsed hyperbole) wherever he goes he can almost always get his own way.

    Gotta love the Paedogeddon. It's GREAT for business!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Throwing toys out of the pram?

    Rather sounds as if CEOP are piqued that Myspace and Facebook don't want to be best buddies.

    Whether or not CEOP provides a useful service, there does seem to be a rather misguided sense of entitlement here on their part.

  15. JohnG
    Thumb Down

    I'm with "The Original Ash"

    Just like the real world, he Internet is not and will never be, a safe place for children to explore without supervision.

    If some kid is being bullied, whether online or otherwise, a button promoting some organisation is not likely to help. There are existing helplines (like Childline) - if the lids are not using those, they aren't likely to use the CEOP button either.

    This sounds like a self-important inidivdual seeking more attention and budget for his organisation. The money should instead be spent in schools and front line social services.

  16. neb

    @ AC 12:29 GMT "I heard the interview with Mr Gamble..."

    i saw some of gambles spiel on el beeb this morning and wanted to punch him in the face

    oh noes, if you don't host our linky you must be the paedobear

    quick call inspector knacker of the yard and arrest the whole damn t'interweb as they're all dirty, dirty, dirty, eurgh!

  17. Snark

    @Bluster & Hyperbole

    Totally agree with all your comments. I heard this on the radio driving in, with mention of the BBC Radio "bully-proof" anti-bullying campaign and I thought "what the hell". The guys comments were so aggressive so, "if you don't do things our way you are part of the problem" and completely dismissive of anyone else that I thought yup, that's why we have a bullying culture. Don't get your own way, so kick and scream and shout and accuse over it. Great lesson for our kids.

    We need to take some parental responsibility and educate our kids and help them be able to talk to us in the first instance. Sadly Mr Gamble's comments have just made him look like a bully and undermind the good work Ceop does do.

  18. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up

    I agree with this

    This should be on all publicly accessible websites, worldwide, and I would also like to suggest:

    [ Click here to report child abuse ]

    [ Click here to report illegal pornography ]

    [ Click here to report piracy ]

    [ Click here to report suspiciously tall photographers ]

    [ Click here to report terrorism ]

    [ Click here to report deviant thinking ]

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is further proof the the UK is falling into a pit of crap

    The people who never stand up for themselves will forever need to by looked after by people (the state) they will never be successful and will generally fail at what ever they try. Having this button will mean that these social retards will jibber jabber about all sorts of crap, usually lying about what they have done and when they are picked up on it they will 'click the button' and report abuse rather than learning to deal with a little lite banter that will help them in later life when they finally get a job.

    Refusing to deal with these companies that do nothing other than spread panic is the right thing to do if we ever want this country to be worthy of being called Great Britian again.

  20. Matthew 7

    Does he know what he's getting into?

    There are so many problems with what he's proposing. First off, does this only apply to british users? What about other organizations around the world who do similar things? Are the myfaces of the world going to have to filter to make sure the complaints go to the right organization?

    Cue the crank calls. Something like this gets abused. Who's filtering that, and what resources are being wasted there?

    10k hits a month...Um...used to run a service with 1M users, we'd get that many complaints (minimum) in the same manner in a month. Facebook is saying it has 300M, how many on Bebo, Myspace, and everyone else? It took us nearly two dozen odd people sorting through those complaints, how many at CEOP, and again, who's paying for them, and their subsequent therapy?

  21. Graham Marsden

    More Empire building...

    ... from Jim Gamble.

    It seems clear to me that what Jim Gamble is most interested in "protecting" is his own position and the power that his organisation holds. The more people he can get to buy into his "Won't Someone Think Of The Children!" arguments, the less likely it is that his self-serving Empire can be challenged because "If you don't like what we do you must be a paedo!"

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    But don't you realise...

    ... that this is an organisation sponsored and supported by the UK police service.

    You are supposed to do what they say without thinking about it!

    If you don't you're obviously a deviant paedo-loving child hating terrrrrrrorist, desperate to bring on the collapse of Western civilisation and the onset of a (GOSH HORROR) Tory government.

  23. Scott 19


    The Sun, as poitned out here on El Reg, that is owned by the same company as MySpace has a slightly diffrent spin on the story, always like to see El Reg informing me of something, ie The Sun never publeshes negative storites about MySpace, and then i see it in practice. I bet there kicking themselves that they can't put the boot into Facebook to much although it is pointed out that Facebook did kill a 17 year old girl.

    Sorry i do read it but more for laughs and the view point of white van man.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC 12:28 GMT

    "People making hoax request will almost certainly have their collars felt as all reports are followed up."

    And how exactly would they punish hoaxers from outside the UK? Good luck with that.

    Of course Facebook and Myspace are going to resist this.... it would set a nasty precedent if they put this button on their site... soon every self serving organization on the planet would be demanding equal space of them.

  25. wv9e

    Ofcourse miss the point.

    Kids shouldn't be on these sites anyway. You don't let them in taverns alone but somehow your

    Nazi button is like having your mum and dad w/ you ? Non-sense and political hype combined to

    keep narrow minded idiots in government jobs free from the voting public's ability to dump their

    sorry asses.

  26. Anonymous Coward


    is 1 hit every 5 minutes. If he gets his way, I know of a company that would love to sell him multi-gigabit network kit.

  27. Ascylto
    Big Brother

    Fits in well ...

    This temper tantrum from CEOP fits in well with one of the latest wheezes of the Polizei ... to treat people as criminals BEFORE they commit an illegal act. Yes, the Department of Pre Crime is alive and well and can't wait to use non-touch graphics and little balls.

    The rozzers want to treat people with a history of complaints or allegations against them (which can't be taken to court through lack of evidence) as perpetrators. So. allegations made by the use of the CEOP Button will probably count and so the filth can lock someone up on 'number of allegations' evidence. In fact, they've been doing this for a while but have had to use the courts so far.

    Jim Gamble ... dontcha just love him? (Is that a 'come on'? Best press the CEOP button!)

  28. Snark

    Maybe a better approach...?

    I've watched this with interest, especially the comments about it confusing the issue (ok so who does the kid talk to? facebook? ceop? their parents? no one?) and delays in Ceop having to tell facebook about a problem, Ceop getting all media nasty at facebook for not dealing with things their way, etc, etc.

    I think a much better approach would be for the social networking sites to voluntarily come up with a common interface to their abuse systems. They may have internal systems based on their needs, sides, target audience beyond that but... If you had a "report abuse" method that had a common look and feel, common icon for it, made it straightforward to find no matter what site you were on - surely that would go a long way to solving what a lot of people are indicating they'd like - a way for their kids to feel they can speak up if someone bullies them online?

    This would then let Ceop get on and do what it should be... a central resource for the sites to go to if their internal procedures find something which requires police intervention?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    sounds like free advertising

    for "protection".


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