Correspondent's Choice

This article about social networks was published on 10th February 2010.

The European institutions launched a campaign yesterday (9 February) to raise awareness of the threats posed by social networking websites such as Facebook for minors under 18. Meanwhile, a new report highlights new risks associated with mobile social networking.

The majority of Europe’s youngsters who go online are regular users of social networking sites such as Facebook, according to a recent Eurobarometer poll.

However, European teenagers are barely aware of the privacy issues raised by such websites, according to EU figures and 50% of them do not hesitate to give out personal information on the Web, which can remain online forever and can be seen by anybody.

Posting photos online of what may have been an unforgettably fun moment with friends may have consequences in future years, warned Viviane Reding, the incoming EU commissioner for justice and fundamental rights, on European Safer Internet Day in Strasbourg.

For example, she said, a potential employer may visit such websites when considering a job application years after the photos were posted.

Indeed, almost half of European recruiters seek information on potential candidates using online social networks and almost a quarter have rejected candidacies on the basis of their research, according to a survey released in January.

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