by Carlo Longino

Filed Under:
bans, sex offenders, social networks


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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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2009 @ 12:34pm

    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?

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