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Facebook adds features to address bullying

In conjunction with a March 10 White House summit on bullying, Facebook announced two new features designed to curb harassment on the popular social networking site.

A new reporting tool will enable Facebook users, including teens and younger users, to privately report offending content to parents, teachers and others in their support system, as well as to the site itself. A user could identify a photo, status update or other item as bullying them, then privately send a message to someone in their friend network about it.

“By encouraging people to seek help from friends, we hope that many of these situations can be resolved face to face,” Facebook said in its announcement.

In addition to the enhanced reporting feature, a new Safety Center will provide educational videos, articles and other content created by bullying experts to help adults address the problem. The Safety Center will constantly be updated with new information and tools.

“Today’s (White House) summit is about collaboration and being innovative in the ways in which we address safety,” Facebook announced on the Facebook Safety Page. “We hope these new resources will help all of us – parents, teachers, kids, safety experts, and Facebook itself – work together to create safer environments.”

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama posted a video on the safety page encouraging Facebook members to address bullying.

“For a long time, bullying was treated as an unavoidable part of growing up,” President Obama says in the video. “But more and more we’re seeing how harmful it can be for our kids, especially when it follows them from their school to their phone to their computer screen.”

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