Social Networking Sites Purge Perverts

Apparent migration from MySpace to Facebook seen

Are registered sex offenders migrating from MySpace to Facebook or signing up with both?

That's the buzz in the Internet's world of social networking sites.

Facebook users are now demanding a purge of those molesters.

Over the last two years, MySpace has blocked access to some 90,000 registered sex offenders.

Sentinel SAFE, which handled the security technology work for MySpace, subsequently found 8,000 potential matches of MySpace-purged offenders who were signed up as Facebook users.

"The [offenders who] were there in MySpace apparently used their own names, their own photos that were easily recognized," said Daniel Libby, founder of San Diego-based Digital Forensics Group, which does computer sleuthing.

"I would suspect when they were kicked off of MySpace," Libby added in an interview Tuesday, "they probably wouldn't have done the same thing when they went to the next site, because they know they were going to get caught."

In the dark alleys off the so-called Information Superhighway, sexual predators seem to have become adept at navigating the social networking sites, especially those frequented by younger users.

"Sexual predators, by their nature, tend to be very good at reading people, studying their subjects and trying to understand the motivations of people," said San Diego Deputy District Attorney Matthew Greco. "So, yes, they will understand the technology."

Facebook, with about 60 million users, is now stepping up its efforts to weed out the predators -- spurred on by groups such as Get Child Molesters off Facebook. Its nearly 12,000 members are spinning endless "threads" filled with outrage.

"People like that should be castrated with a blunt knife and no painkillers," one Facebook chat room poster wrote.

The site is working with states' attorneys' general and internal investigators to ferret out sex offenders and keep older users from searching for users under 18.

"If I'm an offender and I still want to stay there and play in that pool, if you will, I'm going to use fake contact information," Libby said. "There's a lot of [offenders] in that pool."

Facebook officials said they have yet to come across a case of a registered sex offender meeting a minor through its site.

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