My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, a Research Assistant Professor in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and a Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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re: MySpace and sex offenders

Regarding the report that MySpace has obliterated 29,000 accounts that are linked to registered sex offenders, please read Stephanie Booth. Her analysis is spot-on and I couldn’t say it any better than she did. So go read it already.

For reasons that I cannot explain, the Attorneys General have far better PR machines than MySpace. What you are seeing in the press is what the AGs have spun out in their ongoing efforts to force legislation to ban youth from social sites. This is about throwing out numbers that will make people feel afraid; it is not about trying to paint an accurate portrayal of what’s happening. The construction and perpetuation of fear from our most powerful lawyers in the nation makes me sick. (Then again, the most powerful one keeps lying to Congress so what should I expect?)

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5 comments to re: MySpace and sex offenders

  • Attorney General Alberto Gonzales mentioned fighting child sexual predators as a top priority of the DOJ more than once yesterday when he was testifying at the Senate. Today, as the House was debating the move to cite former White House aides for contempt of Congress, Republican members were arguing that Congress should be doing something really useful, like trying to protect the county’s children from sexual predators. It’s clearly a fear-inducing distraction.

  • The shiva (spammers) of myspace has caused this. Not that the sex offenders be banded but in his destruction of myspace the system to track offenders was born.

    Behold the destruction and the creation of the internet.

  • Will Warner

    Well, it’s obvious how predator panic serves the interests of the media, judicial branch, and especially the legislative branch of state and federal governments, but you’re right, they all can and should do better, and take a harder-nosed approach to the fear and confusion.

    I think the AG has better PR than myspace because myspace is frightened and defensive about the whole issue, and like most large corporations, is paralyzed with fear and entirely unable to take a bold stand in favor of adult liberty and against a child safety panic, which I think is the underlying issue. Even tiny, maniacal companies like Rockstar Games have a very hard time taking a political stand like that, much less getting the press to cover it. Whereas the AG smells blood in the water and political capital to be had. The only possible counterweight to an AG on a sex crusade is a skeptical journalist willing to risk seeming to be an apologist for pedophiles, and journalists like that are few and far between lately.

  • Daijah

    hi my name is daijah and i have a lot to say about myspace
    to women and young girl is something they feel coftable with some of these girls will get into something that they can’t get out of girls these day are having babies and getting raped and when you are in middle schools and high schools and you that stuff and i not trying to be funny sbout this but when you walk down that hall you are going to be called a ‘ho’ and then tha’s when you relize you need to start ove with your life and then you will thinking who can i run to but you got to think about it you put yourself in it now you got to get out now you see these men and boys that are MAKING the babies and the women and the girls think they are so in love but when you have the baby they don’t won’t you any more and trust me i know some people who are going through this right now and this is your wake up call to some of you ladies

  • gone are the days when myspace was a marketing medium that allowed me to link with artist across the globe since it went so big its become a playground for all sorts of predators

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