Facebook, the online social network, has stolen some of MySpace’s
momentum with users and the news media. Now, it is being subjected to
the same accusations that it does not do enough to keep sexual
predators off its site.
Connecticut’s attorney general, said that investigators in his state
were looking into “three or more” cases of convicted sex offenders who
had registered on Facebook and had “also found inappropriate images and
content” on the service. The inquiry continues, he said, and state
officials have contacted Facebook and asked it to remove the profiles.
is no question that Facebook is encountering some of the same problems
that MySpace has posed,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “They should be held
accountable, and we intend to do so.”
Folks, these dangerous criminals hang around churches, schools, parks, lots of places. We don’t hold those places accountable for the actions of others; why is cyberspace any different? No, this is just more excuse-mongering to fan the flames of fear in order to regulate the internet. Facebook does everything possible to make sure adults just can’t automatically talk to youngsters. But what is the source of this fear? Read it for yourself (emphases mine):
But in some cases, Facebook’s younger users are vulnerable to sexual
solicitations from older users, as was demonstrated last week to The New York Times
by an anonymous person who described himself or herself in an e-mail
message as “a concerned parent.” The evidence of this person’s
activities on Facebook may give state investigators further cause for
In early July, this person opened a fake account on the
site, posing as a 15-year-old girl named Jerri Gelson from North
Carolina. The photograph on the fake profile page is of an under-age
girl whose hair conceals her face. On the profile page, Ms. Gelson —
whom the “concerned parent” said was not a real person — is described
as looking for “random play” and “whatever I can get.”
person then signed up for three dozen sexually themed groups–forums
of users organized around a particular topic.
Yes, that’s right. This person didn’t make the fake account and then passively start getting sexual advances–he went looking for it! It’s the same thing that TheRegister.com and others have found whenever they’ve tried the same thing. They get nothing, until they go to sexually-explicit groups or chat rooms. And then they get sexual advances! Gee, who’da thought?
No one’s blaming the victims here, but geez, is it really that hard for parents to monitor their childrens’ internet activities and teach them to avoid the dangerous places, just like they have to do in the real world?
Nooooo, that would mean they would actually have to be responsible. Far better to let the government run a scare of everyone, be lazy enough to want the government to do their jobs for them, and have them coming in on a white horse to save us from these evil internet predators. Bye-bye, the one and only bastion of free speech left to us by the power-hungry fear mongers. Hey, after all, it’s for the good of the children.
Well, everything but their (and everyone else’s) liberty, that is.