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MySpace the Place for 90,000 Sex Offenders


And that's only the registered ones.

As it turns out, those hyperbolic news reports of the online dangers targeting your children may have had an iota of truth.

Under pressure from dozens of state attorneys general, MySpace (NWS) has identified and removed 90,000 registered sex offenders from the social-networking site. After 2 years of careful scrutiny, the final tally of flagged users far exceeded investigators' estimates, which placed the number at around 29,000. No word on how many unregistered sex offenders are still at large.

MySpace was hesitant to release such information last year, because the company claimed it violated state and federal laws on disclosure. However, Attorneys General Roy Cooper and Richard Blumenthal -- of North Carolina and Connecticut, respectively -- forced the issue. The company, once served with a subpoena, eventually turned over the names.

Although a similar subpoena has been sent to Facebook -- which stands as the world's most popular social-networking site -- the privately held company has yet to release any information.

Given the threat of minors being targeted by registered offenders on and offline, law enforcement officials had already urged MySpace and Facebook to implement numerous safeguards. The sites established age verification measures, account registration bans, and limits on searching for users under 18. However, it seems more than a few users found ways to circumvent the restrictions.

The total number of purged accounts surprised those who were involved in the process. MySpace's highest estimates of offending accounts was 50,000. Tuesday's numbers are nearly double that amount.

Despite that astonishingly high number, both MySpace and Facebook deny that any users were convicted for actions on their sites. This purging seeks to keep it that way.
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