MySpace Removes 90,000 Sex Offenders

February 4, 2009

Taskforce calls for tougher restrictions on membership of social networking websites.

The social-networking site MySpace, an online hangout popular among teenagers, acknowledged Tuesday that it had found some 90,000 registered sex offenders on its membership rolls.

Law-enforcement officers here and across the country described the revelation as disturbing but not surprising. They said it underscores the need for greater online safeguards – and for parents to pay closer attention to the virtual lives of their children.

MySpace said in a statement that it had purged the sex offenders from its site and was cooperating with law enforcement. The site, which calls itself “a place for friends,” has nearly 76 million users in the United States alone, according to its most recent count.

MySpace and another social-networking powerhouse, Facebook, have come under scrutiny by state regulators who want them to do more to police their sites. Tuesday’s announcement that 90,000 sex offenders had enrolled on MySpace – about 40,000 more than previously thought – came in response to a subpoena from the attorneys general of Connecticut and North Carolina.

The Attorney General of Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, called it a “shocking revelation” and said it offers “compelling proof that social networking sites remain rife with sexual predators.” He renewed his call for better age- and identity-verification standards on MySpace and other social-networking sites.

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