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article imageThousands of sex offenders purged from Facebook

By Subhabrata Das     Feb 21, 2009 in Lifestyle
On Thursday, Connecticut's attorney general reportedly announced that Facebook has removed 5,585 convicted sex offenders since May of last year.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has said Facebook has reported to his office that they have purged 5,585 convicted sex offenders from its social networking website in the period between 1 May, 2008 and 31 January, 2009. Notably, Facebook is world’s largest free-access social networking website, which claims to have more than 175 million active members.
Mr Blumenthal said: “The message in this number is Facebook has an equal stake in solving this problem of protecting children. They have an equal stake in the predator problem and its solution”
Mr Blumenthal and North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper have led a combined effort to make online child safety a priority by removing sex offenders from the social networking websites. Last year, they have asked popular networking sites to implement number of safeguards, including finding better ways to verify users' ages and putting limits on older users' ability to search the profiles of members under 18.
Internet social networking sites and state authorities have argued for years on the issue whether those sites have done enough to weed sex offenders from their membership lists. There is a growing concern over this issue considering the number of adolescence people flock to popular social networking sites.
Earlier this month, another networking site, MySpace announced that it had evicted 90,000 sex offenders’ profiles since 2007. Considering the huge number of members in Facebook, the 5,585 seems bit low. But, Chris Kelly, Facebook's chief privacy officer, reportedly told that Facebook’s requirement that members could only use their real names and real identities rather than a nickname might have prevented sex-offenders in the first place.
Kelly said, the convicted sex offenders were found on the basis of user reports, working with local law enforcement agencies and using the national sex offender registry.
Earlier this month, Facebook officials announced that no sex offender would be allowed to keep a Facebook page.
On Friday, Facebook has reportedly offered a statement by Kelly: "We have been working productively with General Blumenthal and other attorneys general to keep sex offenders off Facebook, and to assure that those who attempt use our site in violation of their parole or other restrictions are brought to justice. This is one of many measures that we continue to take to make Facebook a safer and more trusted online environment."
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