Congratulations Facebook! You've Made It… To The Point Where Politicians Want To Blame You For Stuff

from the it's-a-big-milestone dept

There’s been a lot of buzz lately that Facebook has surpassed MySpace as the hot social network du jour — and it looks like Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has confirmed it by saying he’s looking into the social networking site to determine its liability for letting sexual predators use the site. This comes just months after similar claims from Blumenthal about MySpace. All in all, it still looks a bit like a witch hunt, blaming the service provider for the types of people who use it. Does Blumenthal blame public libraries for letting sex offenders enter the premises? Of course not, because it’s not the library’s responsibility. Hopefully, Facebook will follow MySpace’s path in identifying potential predators and getting rid of them, but it hardly seems like an issue that should involve liability for the company. Does Blumenthal want to sue AOL for letting sexual predators get online in the first place? It’s good that people want to stop sexual predators and it’s no secret that stopping sexual predators is a very complex problem — but blaming social networks (or any tool) isn’t the answer.

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: facebook

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Congratulations Facebook! You've Made It… To The Point Where Politicians Want To Blame You For Stuff”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
22 Comments
Buzz (profile) says:

Facebook > MySpace

When I experimented with MySpace a long time ago, I received several sexual solicitations within minutes from complete strangers. I nuked my account and never looked back. Facebook’s network system is very secure if you are on a university network (which requires a student email address). It is not so secure if you are only part of a regional network since anyone can join such networks. Regardless, I have never once received an awkward solicitation of any kind.

Recently, my wife and I have gotten into Facebook’s whole marketplace deal. Though extremely helpful, one person signed on using three different names and tried to scam us using all of those different accounts. Fortunately, they aren’t very skilled as identity thieves, so they were easy to recognize. No social network is perfect, but Facebook is definitely the best by far.

Michael Jackson's 2nd Nose Job says:

The "book"

Personally, i feel Facebook is far superior. never once have gotten a creepy message on facebook whereas every 20 minutes i get one on myspace. i believe facebook took the proper precautions in making their network as secure as possible.

While nothing can ever be perfect, the book ranks up there as one of the best.

Anonymous Coward says:

Whether or not you receive the solicitations shows very little about how secure the network is. There’s just a fuck ton of hoops to jump through before you’re allowed to send someone a message on facebook.

And I’m not too sure why the hell sexual predators are such a big deal online. They’re easier to deal with online than in real life. Just delete the messages that the predators send.

Which brings up an interesting question. You never hear about a sexual predator who went up to someone on the street and said “What’s your name? Where do you live?”. The kid is going to get the hell away (and he should). But for some reason, you always hear about kids that respond to those “what’s your name, where do you live?” messages.

What needs to happen is parents educating their kids. Parents say “don’t talk to strangers, don’t accept candy, etc.” they need to add “even on the Internet”. To that conversation.

However, as is usual fashion in America, rather than get a fucking clue the parents have decided to blame the “Internet” and the government. The government, in usual fashion in America, rather than tell the parents to get a clue, blames facebook and myspace.

Ikey Benney, On the threat to investigate Facebook (user link) says:

Congratulations Facebook! You've Made It

Hello:

Selective investigations and law enforcement should be denounced as discriminatory, illegal and against the US constitution. This smells like one. If they feel that social networking services have anything to do with this problem, they should investigate all social networking services in the whole world, as well as all libraries, (starting with Library of Congress!) all bookstores (both online and offline), all magazines and newspapers, not just in America but in the whole world. And they should spend their own money doing those investigations not tax payers’ money.

Ikey Benney

Just Me says:

Re: Congratulations Facebook! You've Made It

um…Law Enforcement doesn’t have any of “their own” money. They’re publicly funded – entirely by taxpayers.

Different areas have different methods, but in most places even money from speeding tickets and parking meters goes to a larger fund *not* directly to the enforcement agency.

So, where exactly do they get money for these investigations??

Second, regarding your ‘discrimination’ claim; would you rather such LawEnf agencies simply did nothing at all?? Rather then b*ing and moaning about how “It’s so unfair, they can’t DO that!” how about you accept that some things are not perfectly balancied but at leats some people are trying to make this world a better place (and I don’t mean the “Save the children” politicians, I mean LawEnf in general).

…Just my 2cents.

B says:

Today’s sex offender scare is yesterday’s Satanic ritual abuse, and the day before that’s poisoned Halloween candy. The media LOVES stories like this, and given that they don’t have anything that can even remotely pass as a sense of ethics, they report them without a moment’s reservation, and consequently unjustly destroy a lot of lives in the process. (see the McMartin Preschool case, for one example). I’m actually skeptical of 99.9% of child molestation cases I hear, because of the tendency of the government and the media to blow things out of proportion, to report things without a shred of corroboration, and so on.

The only thing that separates child molestation from moral panics of the past is that, unfortunately, child molestation actually happens. Nonetheless, I look at fears of ‘child sex offenders’ like I look at fears of terrorism. It happens, but no where near as frequently as the government and media likes to claim, and is mostly used as justification for politicians to make new and intrusive laws, and to distract the American people from REALLY issues, like government corruption and threats to our civil liberties.

And cases like this just add weight to my argument.

Anonymous Coward says:

Quote;
The only thing that separates child molestation from moral panics of the past is that, unfortunately, child molestation actually happens.
unquote”

I hope you realize how silly this makes you sound. The McMartin preschool satanic panic didn’t happen, compairing it to something that does happen, all too often, is beyond silly and doesn’t add weight to your argument.

Likewise, online solicitation shouldn’t be compared to other, older, issues because it’s not just a case of newfound moral panic. Online solicitation is a new phenomina, at least as new as online chatting anyway. The moral outrage isn’t caused by a suspected and unsubstanciated crime, but rather real horrible cimes in an area that, until very reciently, hasn’t had much if any law enforement protection. Numerous police agencies will be happy to tell you that they’re behind the curve when it comes to online crime.

From you statement you recognize an apple from an orange, please stop compairing them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Better Idea

“Just leave the sex affenders in jail, it would make so many things easier.”

But that takes all of our (the publics) money to keep them in jail. However I’ve always felt that a punishment should fit the crime. Thieves had their hands cut off so they couldn’t steal, etc. So I propose that child molesters and rapists should be castrated (at their own expense) and let go. no cost to the public, and they won’t do it again.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Likewise, online solicitation shouldn’t be compared to other, older, issues because it’s not just a case of newfound moral panic. Online solicitation is a new phenomina, at least as new as online chatting anyway. The moral outrage isn’t caused by a suspected and unsubstanciated crime, but rather real horrible cimes in an area that, until very reciently, hasn’t had much if any law enforement protection. Numerous police agencies will be happy to tell you that they’re behind the curve when it comes to online crime.”

Yes, it should be compared, because it’s similar.

The media loves scare stories, they love stories that are juicy, and have no sense of ethics. So, for ratings, they blow things out of proportion. They overly report sex offenses, making it look like there are sex offenders lurking behind every tree, or on every website. Politicians grasp on to people’s panic over the idea and uses it to make it look like they are actually doing their jobs.

I’ve worked as a social worker before, worked with molestation victims, so I know sexual abuse happens. However I can tell you first hand that, of all the adolescents I’ve worked with, only a handful dealt with actual sexual abuse, and most of those were abused by people they knew. Ask any law enforcement official or expert on this issue, and they will tell you that people are ten times more likely to be raped or molested by people they know and see every day than by strangers. Yet, the media makes it seem exactly the opposite.

Furthermore, when police are charging a 15 year-old for taking racy pictures of herself, you know the fear of sex offenders has gotten out of hand.

http://web.archive.org/web/20040912084721/http://www.post-gazette.com/breaking/20040329pornp6.asp

The distribution of child pornography is a legitimate one, but charging her with SEXUAL ABUSE for performing sexual acts upon herself? C’mon. Is she going to be made to register as a sex offender? Does that mean that she has to stay away from herself? Can she be arrested again for seeing herself naked? Can she even be alone with herself?

What about these cases?

http://kutv.com/local/local_story_365134652.html
A teenage mother charged as a sex offender for having sex with her boyfriend.

Or how about this guy: http://web.archive.org/web/20050901035749/http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-molest01.html
He grabbed a girl’s arm after he almost hit her with his car. Uh oh. Now he’s a sex offender.

http://www.dallasobserver.com/2003-04-17/news/1-hour-arrest/
A mother breast fed her child? Whoops. Now she’s a sex offender.

The McMartin preschool case destroyed a lot of lives, sent people to jail unjustly. Still trying to claim today’s latest moral panic isn’t the same?

Anonymous Coward says:

Well said #13

I get a postcard in the mail when a registered offender moves near. Carnal knowledge shows up more than molestation. They probably got charged for consensual sex with their girlfriend who was probably 17 and he 18 or 19. Not here to say that is right or wrong but now the person must carry that charge for the rest of their life and be kicked off all social networks, not move near schools, etc. These are not the people who are repeat molesters, rapists or killers who really should be locked up for life. Castration will not work, it is a mental disease and they can still do things with other parts of their body and/or tools. It is not about “busting a nut”.
Incest is the real problem that is overlooked. Wonder why that is… Could it be the ones in power do it?!? Makes you wonder why social services is always getting funding cut and child protection/investigation units are hit first…

Lucretious (profile) says:

*politician waves hand in a dismissive gesture*

“bah, they can fix any problem on that internet stuff, they just don’t want to because they don’t care about children….I do, *slams fist on podium* we need to control and monitor this new “internet” thing before it ruins our children who should be outside building soapbox racers and playing stickball with little suzy up the street! Things need to go back to the way they were in the 1950’s when this country was STRONG and kids didn’t listen to this…this…. nigg….errr.. “urban” music that gives them ideas that we’re really ineffectual clueless old men! I say we pass a bill and make these internet guys tow the line….thats what I say…..yaddah yaddah yaddah….”

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...