DOJ: News Release

McGrath: Agreement Between States, MySpace Protects Children

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath said that the social networking site MySpace has agreed to take steps to better protect children using its site.

Under the agreement announced Monday, MySpace will create a task force to explore and develop age and identity verification technology. 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 back to the attorneys general every three months and issue a formal report with findings and recommendations at the end of 2008.

“This is an important step,” McGrath said. “Verifying identities and ages will go a long way toward protecting young people from inappropriate material and online predators.”

  • Other specific changes and policies that MySpace agreed to develop include:
  • making the default setting “private” for profiles of 16- and 17-year-olds;
    responding within 72 hours to complaints about inappropriate content, and
  • committing more resources to reviewing and classifying photographs and discussion groups.

MySpace also will compile a registry of email addresses provided by parents who want to restrict their child’s access to the site. MySpace will then prohibit anyone using those addresses from signing in or creating a profile.

“Parent involvement is crucial,” McGrath said. “Parents, children and the site can work together so young people can use social networking sites and still stay safe.”

MySpace also agreed to work to:

  • dedicate 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;
  • retain a contractor to better identify and expunge inappropriate images and
  • get and constantly update a list of pornographic web sites and regularly sever any links between them and MySpace.

The agreement culminates nearly two years of discussions between MySpace and the attorneys general. Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia signed the agreement.

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