12 October 2008

EU - Social Networks - on the European Commission's Agenda

Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, gave her first public speech on social networks at the Safer Internet Forum on 26 September 2008, which confirms the interest of the EU bodies on this topic. The commissioner emphasized the growth of the social networks in Europe. While praising their success in promoting cultural diversity and enhanced interactivity and, at the same time, in bringing new economic opportunities for the European industry, Reading mentioned also the new issues raised by the social networks on data privacy and protection of minors. The Commissioner took the stance of self-regulation in relation to social networking and announced that the Commission wants to act as a facilitator: "For this purpose the Commission has convened a Social Networking Task Force, which held two meetings in 2008 with 17 operators of social networking sites used by under-18s (e.g. MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Bebo, Hyves, StudiVZ, and Skyrock), a number of researchers and child welfare organisations. The objective is to agree on voluntary guidelines for use of social networking sites by children, to be adopted voluntarily by the European industry."