MySpace.com has found and deleted profiles of 29,000 convicted sex offenders, more than four times the initial 7,000 profiles they claimed in May. The numbers were discovered after MySpace turned over info detailing the offenders they had removed from the service. MySpace turned over the records after states filed a formal legal request.
Carrying out such a large scale cross checking for the offenders was complicated because records on the US’s over 600,000 sex offenders are stored in various state databases.
Earlier last year MySpace had made moves to protect children from sex offenders. Chief amongst the new changes were removing adult related content (dating ads) from profiles of children under 16, enabling private profiles, and requiring members over 18 to enter the full names or email addresses of users under 16 years of age in order to contact them. There has been no word on how effective the new initiatives have been. However, users can still lie about their age to get around some of the restrictions.
Being one of the largest and highest profile sites, MySpace continues to draw the bulk of the criticism as they make the tough choices about balancing safety with the openness that helps the site grow.