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MySpace erases 29,000 sex offenders

Major cull

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MySpace yesterday announced it had "detected and deleted" 29,000 convicted sex offenders on the social networking site, Reuters reports.

The figure is considerably higher than the 7,000 it said it had identified back in May, after coming under strong pressure to tackle the sex offender menace. A coalition of Attorneys General led by Connecticut AG Richard Blumenthal demanded it do more to protect minors and hand over details of known miscreants.

Following a stand-off during which the News Corporation-owned company refused to supply the requested information "because law enforcement officials hadn't followed the required legal process", MySpace eventually agreed to cough "the names, email addresses, and IP addresses of all convicted sex offenders who have set up a profile on the site".

MySpace chief security officer Hemanshu Nigam announced: "We're pleased that we've successfully identified and removed registered sex offenders from our site and hope that other social networking sites follow our lead."

Blumenthal said: "The exploding epidemic of sex offender profiles on MySpace - 29,000 and counting - screams for action."

Said action should include adequate verification of members' age, with parental consent for minors, other state AGs have said. The current minumum age for joining MySpace is 14. The site last December inked a deal with online identity verification outfit Sentinel Tech Holdings, whose "Sentinel Safe" collates information from public databases of registered sex offenders and cross-references it against MySpace members. ®

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