Florida police and adult chat rooms
As a result, many threats are eliminated without human intervention and moderators at the company are notified later.
By some measures, Internet-related sex crimes against children have always been rare and are now falling (as are reports of assaults on minors that do not involve the Net).
Facebook's software likewise depends on relationship analysis and archives of real chats that preceded sex assaults, Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan told Reuters in the company's most expansive comments on the subject to date.
Like most of its peers, Facebook generally avoids discussing its safety practices to discourage scare stories, because it doesn't catch many wrongdoers, and to sidestep privacy concerns.
Still, as the Skout case showed, there are several recent trends that have heightened the concerns of child-safety experts: the rise of smartphones, which are harder for parents to monitor; location-oriented services, which are the darling of Net companies seeking more ad revenue from local businesses; and the rapid proliferation in phone and tablet apps, which don't always make clear what data they are using and distributing.
A solid system for defending against online predators requires both oversight by trained employees and intelligent software that not only searches for improper communication but also analyzes patterns of behavior, experts said.