Report: 5,585 sex offenders purged from Facebook

Two state attorneys general who have been particularly vigilant in policing social-network safety announce the tally, the Associated Press reports.

Facebook has removed 5,585 registered sex offenders from its service since May, the Associated Press reported late Thursday.

The tally comes from a joint announcement of two state attorneys general who have made online safety a priority, North Carolina's Roy Cooper and Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal.

This follows several years of back and forth between major social networks and state authorities who have insisted the sites aren't doing enough to keep sex offenders out of their ranks. It's a significant issue, considering social networks' popularity with anyone who's hit adolescence.

Earlier this month, the News Corp.-owned social network MySpace announced that it had removed 90,000 sex offenders' profiles since 2007. Considering Facebook is now bigger than MySpace, the 5,585 seems a little low. But Chris Kelly, Facebook's chief privacy officer, told the AP that the social network's requirement that members use a real name rather than a nickname may have deterred sex offenders from membership in the first place.

Facebook offered a statement from Kelly later on Friday: "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."

This post was updated at 9 a.m. PST with comment from Facebook.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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