90,000 sex offenders axed in MySpace clean-up

About 90,000 sex offenders have been identified and removed from the social networking website MySpace, company and law enforcement officials said today.



The number was nearly double what MySpace officials originally estimated last year, said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, who along with Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has led efforts to make social networking websites safer for young users.

Cooper said he wasn't surprised by the updated numbers, and demanded that MySpace and rival online networking site Facebook - which claim to have more than 170 million users combined - do more to protect children and teenagers.

"These sites were created for young people to communicate with each other. Predators are going to troll in these areas where they know children are going to be," Cooper said. "That's why these social networking sites have the responsibility to make their sites safe for children."

The attorneys general received agreements last year from MySpace and Facebook to push toward making their sites safer. Both sites implemented dozens of safeguards, including finding better ways to verify users' ages, banning convicted sex offenders from using the sites and limiting the ability of older users to search members under 18.

Blumenthal, who received MySpace's updated numbers through a subpoena, said the information "provides compelling proof that social networking sites remain rife with sexual predators." A preliminary number of sex offenders found on Facebook was "substantial," but he said the company has yet to respond to a recent subpoena.

MySpace executives said they were confident in the technology they use to find, remove and block registered sex offenders. The company uses Sentinel SAFE, a database it created in 2006 with the names, physical descriptions and other identifiable characteristics of sex offenders that cross-references against MySpace members.

"Sentinel SAFE is the best industry solution to ensure these offenders are removed from social networks," Hemanshu Nigam, the company's chief security officer, said in a statement.

MySpace, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., has more than 110 million active users worldwide.

A spokesman for Facebook, which claims more than 61 million active users, said Tuesday that protecting its users has always been a priority.

"We have a policy prohibiting registered sex offenders from joining Facebook," said spokesman Barry Schnitt. "We are glad to be able to report that we have not yet had to handle a case of a registered sex offender meeting a minor through Facebook. We are working hard to make sure it never happens."

Still, Cooper said more should be done.

"Technology moves forward quickly, and it's important for these companies to stay ahead of the technology," he said. "And they're not moving fast enough for us."

The push for better restrictions came during a time when social-networking websites were seeing exponential growth, with most of it coming in the form of younger users. But along with the younger members came sexual predators who would lie about their age to lure young victims.

Blumenthal and Cooper, who co-chair the State Attorney General Task Force on Social Networking, have led the charge for tougher restrictions to be placed on who joins online social-networking sites.

The Internet Safety Technical Task Force report, commissioned by the attorneys general in 2008, researched ways to help squash the onslaught of sexual predators targeting younger social-networking clients. Enhancing Child Safety & Online Technologies, a report by the internet Safety Technical Task Force submitted to attorneys general in December, pointed out there was no sure-fire way to guarantee online child safety.

"Our law enforcement officers investigating these cases tell us that predators are soliciting children on the internet and in social networking sites," Cooper said. "We're working to provide more law enforcement to protect our kids, but social networking sites and technology companies must do their part as well."

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
News
news
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

    £100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

    C# Developer

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: My client is lo...

    SAP FICO CONSULTANT - LONDON

    £55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SENIOR SAP FICO...

    SAP BI/BO CONSULTANT

    £60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BI CONSULTA...

    Day In a Page

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn