Facebook May Face Problems Due To Predators

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[ Social Media]

Facebook’s done pretty well for itself – strong growth, IPO- and acquisition-related options, and as much buzz as a company could wish for.  But a handful of sex offenders have been identified as members, and Facebook’s starting to have issues that are reminiscent of “that other” social networking site.

In fact, Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut’s attorney general, told the New York Times, “There is no question that Facebook is encountering some of the same problems that MySpace has posed.  They should be held accountable, and we intend to do so.”

That opens up the whole issue of who’s to blame, of course; call me a pessimist, but it seems like a few unsavory individuals are going to turn up in any crowd.  Then again, Blumenthal isn’t arguing that point.  Following the introduction of Facebook’s “open door” policy, he said, “I have observed its mutation into a somewhat different kind of site.  There are now some troubling aspects to its features and culture that were absent before.”

So where does this leave Facebook?  Thus far, the site has removed profiles on a case-by-case basis as they’ve been brought to its attention.  It’s not exactly the most efficient method, and as the existence of the NYT piece implies, it hasn’t been enough to satisfy all of Facebook’s critics.

As for the future, “[T]he company has proposed building a database of names and e-mail addresses for convicted sexual offenders that could be compared to the membership rolls of Internet sites,” according to the Times.  “For that approach to work, however, Facebook would have to wait until all 50 states had passed legislation requiring sex-offenders to register their e-mail addresses.  Currently such legislation is signed or pending in 13 states.”

Facebook May Face Problems Due To Predators
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