Fri, Feb 20th 2009 5:16pm
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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