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MySpace fingers 90,000 nonces

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MySpace has admitted it has found, and removed, about 90,000 registered sex offenders on the social networking site in the last two years.

The Attorney General of Connecticut Richard Blumenthal hit MySpace with a subpoena demanding the information.

Blumenthal said the number of profiles refuted the final US Internet Safety Technical Task Force report which found adult sexual harrassment of children was a minor problem. He said the figure was appalling and: "For every one of them, there may be hundreds of others using false names and ages. These convicted registered sex offenders creating profiles under their own names unmasks MySpace's monstrously inadequate counter-measures."

MySpace, owned by Rupert Murdoch's Fox Interactive Media, claimed in January that it was automatically deleting profiles from sex offenders and was monitoring all content more closely. Richard Blumenthal was behind moves in 2007 to force MySpace to admit the scale of the problem - it said then it had "detected and deleted" 27,000 paedophile profiles.

Blumenthal said: "My office will immediately seek to identify any and all Connecticut offenders with MySpace profiles and inform appropriate state authorities so they can determine whether terms of probation or release were violated, as has been done previously." He urged other states to take similar action.

Blumenthal said he was still waiting for a response to a similar subpoena sent to Facebook.

Facebook said:

We have been working proactively with states' attorneys general to run their lists of registered sex offenders against our user base. Our team uses various internal tools to automatically find matches. Any potential matches are evaluated more fully by our internal team of investigation professionals. If we find that someone on a sex offender registry is a likely match to a user on Facebook, we notify law enforcement and disable the account.

In some cases, law enforcement has asked us to leave the accounts active so that they may investigate the user further. We have worked proactively to establish a publicly available national database available to everyone of registered sex offenders that enables real-time checks and includes important unique information like email addresses and IM handles.

Blumenthal's press release is here. ®

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