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Implementation of the Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU

Abstract

This report details the findings of a second independent assessment of the implementation of the Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU. This report is part of the European Commission`s commitment to support the industry self-regulatory initiative - the “Safer Social Networking Principles” (from now on referred to as (“the Principles”) signed by 21 social networking companies to date. The report summarizes the findings of the 2nd assessment (Phase A) where 14 social networking websites (SNS) were tested. The services tested in this Phase were: Arto, Bebo, Facebook, Giovani, Hyves, IRC-Galleria, Myspace, Nasza-Klasa, Netlog, One, Rate, SchuelerVZ (Vznet Netzwerke), Tuenti and Zap. All these services were tested in their main language versions except Facebook, Myspace and Netlog which were tested in two language versions. This report also summarizes the main findings related to the analysis of the corresponding self-declarations submitted by the signatories of the Principles involved in this Phase where they explain how they implement safety measures on their websites. The second assessment of the Safer Social Networking Principles aims at determining how well the Principles each SNS committed itself to implement have been put into operation on their corresponding websites. The methodology of this second assessment varies slightly in relation to the first evaluation carried out in 2009. Instead of testing all the SNS at once, two Phases have been foreseen. In Phase A (results summarized in this report) all the typical SNS have been tested while in Phase B different platforms, namely video-sharing platforms, photo-sharing platforms, virtual worlds, gaming platforms and other platforms will be tested. This report consists of two parts. The first part is a general analysis of the main findings across the services assessed. The second part is comprised of individual testing reports of each of the 14 services involved in Phase A. All commitments of the services were assessed on two main aspects. Firstly, the individual self-declarations submitted by each service provider were assessed against the Safer Social Networking Principles. Of the 14 services evaluated, 3 self-declarations were assessed as “very satisfactory”, 9 as “rather satisfactory” and 2 as “unsatisfactory”. Secondly, all the services were also assessed according to the way each provider implemented their individual commitment (as expressed in their self-declaration) on their respective website. When looking at how satisfactory the implementation of these commitments was, we can see that 4 services implemented their commitments in a very satisfactory way, 6 services implemented their commitment rather satisfactorily while 4 services implemented their commitment unsatisfactorily on an overall level. In sum, the self-declarations of the services evaluated were slightly better assessed than their implementation on the corresponding websites.

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