Sat, Apr 14, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Facebook promises to stop offensive ads: Criminal Investigation Bureau

Staff writer, with CNA

A man shows a Web site that a firm has linked to a Facebook ad, in the legislature in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times

The Criminal Investigation Bureau said Facebook promised to take steps to keep indecent advertisements from appearing on its Web pages in Taiwan after the bureau raised the issue with the social networking site, an official said yesterday.

Chuang Ming-hsiung (莊明雄), a section chief at the bureau’s High-Technology Crime Prevention Center, said at a news conference that the center approached Facebook’s legal affairs office in the US over the issue after receiving complaints about the ads.

An initial investigation found that the offensive images were provided by a Hong Kong-based online games company, Chuang said.

Because Taiwan and Hong Kong both use traditional Chinese characters, the images were visible on local Facebook pages, he said.

According to Chuang, Facebook’s legal office is trying to determine whether the images violate US laws that bar the publication of pornographic images on Web sites accessible by children or adolescents.

“If those images violate US law, Facebook will remove the ads,” Chuang said, adding that the company also promised to take steps to ensure that the images are accessible to Hong Kong Facebook users only if they are not in violation of US law.

Speaking on the same occasion, Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation chief executive Kang Shu-hua (康淑華) said nearly 12 million people in Taiwan have Facebook accounts, with 1.6 million users, or 13.7 percent of the total, aged between 13 and 17. Regrettably, Kang said, the foundation has recently found that Facebook banners carry offensive ads that allow users to interact with provocative images of women featured in ads.

While Taiwan has an Internet rating and classification system in place, the government does not seem to have made enough effort to protect local youngsters from the onslaught of pornographic ads, Kang said.

National Alliance of Parents Organization president Wu Fu-pin (吳福濱) echoed Kang’s call, saying the government should take the initiative to control the invasion of indecent ads on social networking Web sites.

National Communications Commission official Hsu Chih-lin (許志麟) said his agency maintains a one-stop window that accepts public complaints about Internet content and refers them to the appropriate agencies.

He said the Industrial Development Bureau was drafting regulations to manage online game software in accordance with the newly revised Children and Youth Welfare Act (兒童及少年福利法).

“Once the regulations are implemented, law-breaking online game software will be removed and the providers will be punished accordingly,” he said.

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