Facebook Boots Off Almost 5600 Sex Offenders; Don't You Feel Safer Now?

from the now-that-that's-out-of-the-way dept

Facebook says it’s cleared about 5600 sex offenders from its userbase, following the big push from a bunch of state attorneys general. The figure’s being compared to the 90,000 people that MySpace said it kicked off, leading to some speculation that Facebook isn’t trying hard enough; its chief privacy offer says its requirement that people use their real names could deter sex offenders from registering in the first place. If these people Facebook has identified are using the site in violation of their parole or other restrictions, it’s good they’re being exposed. But the real problem here is that finding sex offenders on social networks and kicking them off is being misconstrued as the ultimate protection for kids. The actual threat posed by sex offenders on web sites is often exaggerated by politicians, and this sort of find-’em-and-ban-’em response causes some actual ways to keep kids safer online to be overlooked, in favor of non-existent magic bullets.

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Comments on “Facebook Boots Off Almost 5600 Sex Offenders; Don't You Feel Safer Now?”

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27 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Real Name ?

They don’t know who is using their real names. There is no way to check who the user actually is without a) knowing them personally, b) checking offline that data they posted was posted BY THEM rather than a phony. This is one reason (of many) that parents need to be involved in their children’s online activities, because that offline verification is crucial and will be overlooked by children.

As for kicking off the sex offenders, they are most likely being matched by IP addresses or other computer access (a machine used in an internet cafe during a certain time period). They naturally won’t be using their own names, so that’s not really the question you should have been asking. 😉 Ask how are they identified?

PaulT (profile) says:

I’d be curious to see what the rates of false positives on MySpace are – i.e. how many non-sex offenders were removed “just in case”. I’d also be interested to see how many were multiple accounts belonging to one person.

Anyway, I’d definitely argue that Facebook’s focus tends to be more on communicating with people you actually know rather than the “friend the whole internet” approach popular on MySpace. Given that, and the fact that MySpace has been around longer (more likely to have old, dormant accounts), I’d say that explains most of the difference in numbers.

Convicted Sex Offender says:

As a convicted sex offender who recently got booted from facebook, I must make the following observations.

I am in my late 20s, and had two sexual encouters with a 16 year old female student when I taught school.

I registered for facebook using my real name and identity, with the full knowledge of my probation officer. In fact, he friended me in order to monitor my activities on the site. I have put my life back together, and utilized the site to network with over 200 friends and family across the country.

My question is – what about the predatory sex offenders who are no longer on probation and are seemingly “unsupervised?” They can easily create a name and email address at any of the ISPs, and literally use the social networking sites to troll for children at their will. And no one would no about it until it was too late.

Don’t fall into the politician’s hype that this is making your children safer. It isn’t. I am a probationer and offender who made some mistakes, but plays by the rules and am a known quantity. My life will go on without facebook, and I take it as just one of those luxuries that I am no longer entitled to because of my transgressions against society. However, the real danger is the predators who evade the supervision of the authorities and go underground with different identities to avoid being branded.

Dr Nigel Leigh Oldfield (user link) says:

None of the registered sex offenders found on MySpace have been convicted ...

None of the registered sex offenders found on MySpace have been convicted …

“”None of the registered sex offenders found on MySpace have been convicted for actions on the site, Nigam said.

Facebook’s statement said no sex offenders had been convicted of wrongdoing on its site either.”

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-myspace4-2009feb04,0,6261480.story

Sex offenders in social sites: Consider the facts

http://www.netfamilynews.org/2009/02/sex-offenders-in-social-sites-consider.html

******

Nigel.

Ryan G says:

DISCIPLINE, TREATMENT & FORGIVENESS

My brother is a sex offender. He is homeless. He is shunned. He is scarlet-lettered.

HE HAS ALREADY SERVED HIS TIME AND IS REPENTANT AND REMORSEFUL. HE IS OFF PROBATION, AND MAINTAINS ACCOUNTABILITY AND HAS IMPLEMENTED HIS OWN CONTROLS, FIRMLY SET IN PLACE TO PREVENT HIM FROM OFFENDING AGAIN. HE IS VERY COGNIZANT OF HIS FLAWS, AND IS MUCH MORE TRANSPARENT, OPEN AND HONEST THAN BEFORE. IT WAS THE SECRECY THAT DID HIM IN; BUT NOW THAT HIS CRIME WAS MADE PUBLIC, HE IS ONE OF THE SAFEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!

It is absolutely unfair and counterproductive for society to treat ALL sex offenders as throwaways and not work harder to integrate them back into society in a safe manner…you only create a negative mentality and a pervasive stigma that treatment is unattainable. Recidivism is not what people claim it is. These people ARE treatable. They need to be afforded treatment and encouragment, not Nancy-Graced to death, tarred and feathered and condemned to live out their days in shame, isolation, and near-suicide levels of existence.

They are not ALL the same, so stop blanketing them and stop calling them sex offendERs. Most of them committed one offense, it’s not an ongoing lifetime activity. Does someone who committed a murder ONCE have to be called a murderER for life, present tense? If you stole something once, are you then a thief for life? No, I breathe oxygen all the time. Therefore, I am an ongoing oxygen breather.

Come on people of the world. Extend a hand rather than a fist.

Thomas says:

Re: DISCIPLINE, TREATMENT & FORGIVENESS

I have to agree with you here, i am a convicted offender for something that i was only convicted do to it being an election year and a shitty attorney. i had done my time but facebook has also banned me for this ridiculousness!!! I had invested over 5 years into facebook and i managed 4 different company profiles that they also removed since they were linked to me. this is ridiculous that anyone has the right to deny someone from their past discretion’s.

jbl2010 (profile) says:

i was a registered sex offender on facebook for three years i commited a crime when i was 15yrs old the state waited till i was 18 so they could prosecute me as an adult i spent 5 years in prison when i got out i attended 2 and a half years of counseling and did 3 years of probation if. i dont even really care about the facebook thing but it was nice to be able to keep up with people from high school and i also enjoyed playing vdream and the like. didnt really consider myself a threat but all sex offenders are equally hated so i guess thats over Thanx for reporting me…

annon says:

This is unconstitutional

Facebook and Myspace’s actions are unconstitutional. In Indiana, a court made this ruling and I hope that this will soon sweep the nation. There is a HUGE difference between sex offenders and predators. Facebook should be ashamed of this act of discrimination. As a parent, if you think facebook is unsafe, don’t let your kids use it. You are adults. Make safe and wise choices. Sex offenders who are not in jail have served their time. The registry should be unconstitutional since it makes some people who made a mistake as a kid pay for a LIFETIME instead of just for their sentence. STOP THE CYCLE OF DISCRIMINATION.

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