Internet social sites target sex offenders

MySpace has identified and removed 90,000 registered sex offenders from its social networking site over the last two years, the Beverly Hills company confirmed Tuesday, nearly double the number previously acknowledged.

About 50,000 sex offenders had been identified as using the popular site until the new numbers were released Tuesday, the attorneys general for Connecticut and North Carolina said in a statement. The information on the 90,000 sex offenders using MySpace was turned over to Connecticut Atty. Gen. Richard Blumenthal’s office in response to a subpoena, the statement said.

A similar subpoena was issued to Facebook, but the company has yet to release any information, the statement said.

“We’ve been working productively with Atty. Gen. Blumenthal’s office for more than three years on these issues,” Chris Kelly, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said in a statement.


“They recently let us know that they are planning to send an updated subpoena.”

Blumenthal said the newly released numbers from MySpace showed the need for social networking sites to strengthen security measures. Recent reports lead investigators to believe there are a substantial number of convicted sex offenders using Facebook to find victims, he said.

All of the 90,000 known sex offenders on MySpace have been removed from the site, and the company looks daily for new offenders, said Chief Security Officer Hemanshu Nigam. Each time MySpace identifies a sex offender using the site, that user account is shut down and the company saves the information to hand over to law enforcement, Nigam said.

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.