albany, n.y. -- The social networking website Facebook has been warned that it could face a consumer fraud charge for failing to live up to claims that youngsters there were safer from sexual predators than at most sites and that it promptly responded to concerns, a spokesman for New York Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.
"We expect an immediate correction eliminating the dangers exposed by our investigation," spokesman Jeffrey Lerner said.
Cuomo announced last week that he had subpoenaed Palo Alto-based Facebook Inc. after he said the company did not respond to many complaints by investigators who were solicited for sex while posing as 12- to 14-year-olds on the site. Officials from Cuomo's office discussed the issue with Facebook by phone and fax Friday after they said it took three days to answer calls and e-mails from state investigators.
An official in Cuomo's office said he and others are scheduled to meet with Facebook representatives this week and anticipated changes would follow immediately.
"We said, 'You have got to make accurate representations on your website,' " said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because court filings haven't yet been made. "What we told them is, 'Correct the language describing the site and stop marketing yourself as this pristine website . . . parents have a misimpression. You can't mislead people.' "
Lerner said Facebook's contention of being safer than most sites was accurate when it started out as a closed site 3 1/2 years ago. But it's now much larger, and the safeguards and apparently the response times for complaints aren't what they once were, he said.
There was no immediate response to e-mail and phone messages left for a Facebook representative. But a statement issued a week ago stated the company was concerned about Cuomo's claim that sexual predators could use the site to meet with children.
"We strive to uphold our high standards for privacy on Facebook and are constantly working on processes and technologies that will further improve safety and user control on the site," Facebook said.