Sex Offenders Booted From Facebook, MySpace Under N.Y. Law

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Thus far, more than 3,500 sex offenders registered in New York have been ousted from both Facebook and MySpace in the initial crackdown under the 2008 Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP), a piece of legislation backed by Cuomo.

Under e-STOP, convicted sex offenders who are forced to register with the state are also required to provide home addresses, e-mail addresses, site usernames and online profiles. Registered sex offenders have 10 days to disclose their online information once they create a social networking profile, or risk receiving another felony conviction.

State officials then make the provided information available to social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace, to use at their discretion.

There does appear to be a glitch in the system, however. Out of New York's 30,000 registered sex offenders, only 8,106 submitted their e-mail addresses and social networking information. The remaining 22,000 convicted sexual predators were either back in prison, homeless, didn't have access to a computer or simply didn't respond, a DCJS spokesperson told the New York Daily News.

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The legislation, however, spurred social networking sites to purge rosters of convicted sexual felons.

Altogether, Facebook disabled 3,410 accounts linked to 2,782 sexual predators, while MySpace disabled 1,975 accounts linked to 1,796 offenders, the Attorney General's office announced. The names of those kicked off the sites will then be forwarded to the state Division of Parole, which will subsequently scrutinize the lists for those violating parole.

Meanwhile, 43 percent of the 8,106 registered sex offenders who reported their online information were on either Facebook or MySpace, however the networking preferences of sexual predators reflected a larger trend that favored Facebook. Of the 3,533 offenders with recently terminated accounts, 79 percent were on Facebook, and 51 were on MySpace, while many had accounts on both sites, the New York Daily News reported.

Congress has also passed a law creating a national sex-offender e-mail registry, although it has yet to go into effect.

Cuomo called on other social networks to follow the lead of Facebook and MySpace to take action by banning convicted sex offenders from their sites.