The number of convicted sex criminals found on MySpace has more than quadrupled since software designed to ferret them out began running in May, according to prosecutors in two US states.
Attorneys general from Connecticut and North Carolina said in published reports on Tuesday that MySpace identified 29,000 convicted sex offenders that had profile pages on the popular social-networking website.
MySpace refused to discuss the number but said its Sentinel Safe software is working “24 hours a day” and that profile pages belonging to sex criminals are deleted as soon as they are discovered.
“We partnered with Sentinel Safe to build technology to remove registered sex offenders from our site,” MySpace chief security officer Hemanshu Nigam said in a written response to an AFP inquiry.
“Through this innovative technology, we’re pleased that we’ve successfully identified and deleted these registered sex offenders and hope that other social networking sites follow our lead.”
News Corporation-owned MySpace is the only Internet firm to develop a database and software to rid online properties of convicted sex offenders.
MySpace deletes the profiles but saves information about them for law enforcement officials, according to Nigam, a former US prosecutor who handled sex crimes.
MySpace is lobbying for a federal law requiring convicted sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses to make it easier to screen them from membership websites used by young people.
US law already requires people convicted of sex crimes to register their addresses with local police after they are released from custody.
There are an approximately 600,000 registered sex offenders in the United States.
Nearly 180 million profiles are posted on MySpace, allowing users to post blogs, music and videos.
North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper is backing state legislation that would require websites to confirm that children have their parents’ permission before creating online profiles.