Facebook heeds MySpace in removing sex offender profiles

Ann Maher May 8, 2008, 12:38pm


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline)-Facebook has agreed to remove profiles of known sex offenders from its social networking site, according to a settlement announced by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Madigan, a Democrat, joined the attorneys general of 49 other states and the District of Columbia in an agreement resulting in actions by Facebook similar to those MySpace agreed to in January 2008.

Following the discovery of more than 1,800 Illinois sex offenders on MySpace, a Madigan subpoena to Facebook discovered 123 of those MySpace Illinois sex offenders had created profiles on Facebook, as well.

Facebook has since removed those profiles.

"As with MySpace, I am concerned that young people communicating through Facebook run into risks of having contact with sexual predators roaming the Internet looking to meet children, teens and others," Madigan stated in a press release.

As part of the agreement announced today, Facebook will:

  • Provide automatic safety messages when a child is in danger of giving personal information to an unknown adult,

  • Restrict the ability of users to change their listed ages,

  • Act more aggressively to remove inappropriate content and groups from the site, and

  • Require third party vendors to adhere to Facebook's safety and privacy guidelines.

    Facebook also has agreed to maintain a list of pornographic Web sites and regularly cut any links to such sites, the attorney general's office stated.

    The company will remove groups for incest, pedophilia, cyberbullying and other violations of the site's terms of services, as well as expel from the site individual violators of those terms.

    Facebook also has agreed to more prominently display safety tips to its users, require users under age 18 to affirm they have read Facebook's safety tips when they register and regularly review models for abuse reporting.

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