Facebook Unveils 'Safety Center,' Refuses To Install Child 'Panic Button'

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Facebook is unveiling a revamped internal site designed to help people stay safe while surfing online.

Facebook's "Safety Center," which features new tools for parents, teachers, teens and law enforcement, is the first major endeavor from the social networking site and its four-month-old global safety advisory board.

The board is composed of Internet safety groups Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely, WiredSafety, Childnet International and The Family Online Safety Institute.

Some new features of the safety center include four times more content on staying safe, such as dealing with bullying online, an interactive portal and a simpler design.

Controversy erupted earlier this year after Facebook nixed the idea of installing a 'panic button' that children could click to instantly report danger.

Facebook's Richard Allan, director of policy for Europe, explained the site's decision to implement a Safety Center in place of a 'panic button,' which he said could 'intimidate' and 'confuse' users:

From our experience big graphics of 'buttons' produce less good results - in terms of people actually reporting abuse. They intimidate and confuse people. We think our simple text link, which gives people the option to report abuse to CEOP as well as to the Facebook team, is a far more effective solution.

The presence of sexual predators is a problem for social networking sites and their users, as a controversial Daily Mail article explored earlier this year. Only recently, for example, a serial sex offender admitted to using Facebook to rape and murder a teenage girl.

Previously, Facebook, based in Palo Alto, Calif., has helped identify, and has disabled accounts of, registered sex offenders. In 2008, Facebook said it agreed to assist 49 Attorneys General to protect kids against Internet predators.