Wednesday, January 16, 2008

MySpace to Implement Safety Measures

Social Networking site,, reached an agreement with attorney generals from 49 states to implement new safety measures to help protect children from online predators and cyberbullies. One of the biggest problems that MySpace has agreed to address is developing a way to verify the ages of its members. Right now, MySpace does not verify the age of its users. When new users sign up for a profile, the site asks for a date of birth, but it is easy for someone who is underage to lie about when they were born. In fact, it is easy to create an entirely fake profile on MySpace. A recent cyberbullying case that was highlighted in this blog was centered around a fake MySpace profile. Federal prosecuters are considering filing fraud charges against the person responsible for creating that fake account.

Other measures that MySpace is making are:
  • Allowing parents to submit the emails of their children to prevent them or anyone else from creating a Myspace account.
  • Keeping the profiles of 16 and 17 year olds private (They already keep the profiles of 14 and 15 yeal olds private.)
  • Devote more staff to monitoring innapropriate content on the site.

Questions remain as to how they plan on verifying the ages of its users as well as the effectiveness of these measures. Texas did not sign the agreement because of concerns about how MySpace would be able to effectively verify the ages of its users. Nancy Willard of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use says that the restrictions do not address the problems of teens with uninvolved parents that are "looking for love online". has a video of the news report.

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