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Yet even though defensive techniques are now available and effective they can be expensive.They can also alienate some of a site's target audience - especially teen users who expect more freedom of expression.'There are companies out there that are doing a very good job, working within the confines of what they have available,' said Brooke Donahue, a supervisory special agent with an FBI team devoted to Internet predators and child pornography.As a result, many threats are eliminated without human intervention and moderators at the company are notified later.
Such efforts generally start with automated screening for inappropriate language and exchanges of personal information, and extend to using the records of convicted pedophiles' online chats to teach the software what to seek out.Users could be unnerved about the extent to which their conversations are reviewed, at least by computer programs.'We've never wanted to set up an environment where we have employees looking at private communications, so it's really important that we use technology that has a very low false-positive rate,' he said.In addition, Facebook doesn't probe deeply into what it thinks are pre-existing relationships.'There are companies out there that are more concerned about profitability.'Also in June, a teen-oriented virtual world called Habbo Hotel, which boasts hundreds of millions of registered users, temporarily blocked all chatting after UK television reported that two sex predators had found victims on the site and that a journalist posing as an 11-year-old girl was bombarded with explicit remarks and requests that she disrobe on webcam.Former employees said site owner Sulake of Finland laid off many in-house workers earlier this year, leaving it unable to moderate 70 million lines of daily chat adequately.