For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: January 14, 2008

Wasden Announces Nationwide Agreement with MySpace

(Boise) – Idaho children will be safer because of an agreement signed with MySpace, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. In its agreement with all 50 states, MySpace will take significant steps to better protect children on its website, including creation of a task force to explore and develop age and identity verification technology.

The states pushed MySpace for changes after sexual predators repeatedly used the site to victimize children.

“I am pleased that MySpace recognizes the importance of protecting Idaho children from online predators and I look forward to working with them on developing industry-wide practices to ensure that all social networking sites provide a safe online environment for children,” said Attorney General Wasden. “The agreement adopted today will allow social networking site operators to better assist law enforcement officials in deterring and prosecuting criminals who misuse the Internet to prey on children.”

Other specific changes and policies that MySpace agreed to develop include:

  • Allowing parents to submit their children’s e–mail addresses so MySpace can prevent anyone using those e–mail addresses from setting up profiles,
  • Making the default setting “private” for profiles of 16- and 17-year-olds,
  • Promising to respond within 72 hours to inappropriate content complaints, and
  • Committing more staff and/or resources to review and classify photographs and discussion groups.

Under the agreement, MySpace will create and lead an Internet Safety Technical Task Force to explore and develop age and identity verification tools for social networking websites. MySpace will invite other social networking sites, age and identify verification experts, child protection groups and technology companies to participate in the task force.

The task force will report to the attorneys general every three months and issue a formal report with findings and recommendations at the end of 2008.

MySpace also agreed to work to implement the following:

  • Strengthen software identifying underage users;
  • Retain a contractor to better identify and expunge inappropriate images;
  • Obtain and constantly update a list of pornographic websites and regularly sever any links between them and MySpace;
  • Implement changes making it harder for adults to contact children;
  • Dedicate meaningful resources to educating children and parents about online safety;
  • Provide a way to report abuse on every page that contains content, consider adopting a common mechanism to report abuse, and respond quickly to abuse reports;
  • Create a closed “high school” section for users under 18.

MySpace has also agreed to consider a common abuse reporting mechanism and will try to acknowledge reports made via the Report Abuse mechanism within 24 hours and will respond to consumers within 72 hours of receiving complaints.

“This is an issue of keen importance to me,” Attorney General Wasden said. “For more than two years now, I have been meeting with hundreds of Idaho parents and youth to talk about the dangers of the Internet. At the same time, I joined other states in engaging MySpace to more aggressively and thoroughly address the problem of sexual predators trolling MySpace for victims. While the work is not yet done, and much more needs to be done, today is a good day in our efforts to make the Internet a safer place for our youth.”

The agreement is a result of nearly two years of discussions between MySpace and the attorneys general. The attorneys general were led by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, co-chairmen of the executive committee consisting of Connecticut, North Carolina, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia

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