MySpace, Facebook show tools to ward off child predators

At meeting of MySpace-formed task force, social networks show how kids are kept safe

MySpace is using technology to analyze whether potential users trying to sign up for the social network may be registered sex offenders, the company's chief security officer said Wednesday.

Hemanshu Nigam, who is also the CSO of Fox Interactive Media, described the new system and other measures taken by MySpace to protect children online during a meeting of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force Wednesday at Harvard University. The task force was created by MySpace as part of a January agreement with a group of state attorneys general to beef up online safety at social networking sites.

The task force is charged with exploring and developing age and identity verification tools for social networking sites.

The task force was formed after a lengthy battle between 49 (minus Texas) of the 50 US state attorneys general and MySpace over turning over the names of registered sex offenders who had accounts on MySpace. In July 2007, MySpace said it had identified more than 29,000 registered sex offenders among its users. Facebook subsequently joined the task force and agreed to work with the AGs on bolstering online safety.

Nigam noted that the company's new Sentinel technology looks at various criteria - like names and images of known sex offenders - 24 hours a day to ensure they are not using the site.

"We have proactive, zero tolerance for sex offenders," he noted.

He noted that this method of aiming to identify potential predators before they have a chance to make contact with any other MySpace user is part of its new proactive approach at online safety.

"[We] don't just do 'notice and take down', but merge it and combine it with proactive measures," Nigam added. "That should be the ultimate goal - take care of [potential problems] before you get an email, a call or a complaint."

The company also reviews videos and photos uploaded to the site for nudity, pornography or overt violence, he added. MySpace is trying to deter users from adding such content to the site by telling those posting illicit videos or images that their IP address is logged and could be used in an investigation if the content is found to be illegal.

"We are looking for teachable moments," he added. "When your are uploading images or videos, we put up a warning to let you know that other people can see what you're putting up."

Chris Kelly, Facebook's chief privacy officer, said via a video presentation from the meeting that one of the company's biggest advantages in the quest for online safety is that unlike MySpace, it requires that users use their real name to identity themselves on the site.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Facebooksocial networkingMySpace

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Heather Havenstein

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?