MySpace Cutting Links to Adult Sites

Stephen Yagielowicz
LOS ANGELES – Social networking giant MySpace has entered into an agreement with 49 states that includes the elimination of all links to adult websites, according to one state Attorney General who has signed on to the plan.

The move is part of a plan to fight online predators targeting children, and according to Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, includes a commitment by MySpace to "Obtain and constantly update a list of pornographic web sites and regularly sever any links between them and MySpace."

"Kids face a real danger on web sites like MySpace because they never know who they are communicating with online," Shurtleff said. "This agreement recognizes the intentions of MySpace to make improvements but it is my hope that all social networking sites will find additional ways to protect children."

Such a move would pose further challenges for legitimate adult marketers that rely on receiving traffic from these popular portals to fuel their websites – an especially popular option for solo-model and personality website owners.

As part of its agreement with the state attorneys general, MySpace will:

  • Strengthen software identifying underage users;
  • Retain a contractor to identify and eliminate inappropriate images;
  • Allow parents to send their child's e-mail address so MySpace can restrict the child from signing in or creating a profile;
  • Obtain and constantly update a list of pornographic web sites and regularly sever any links between them and MySpace;
  • Create a closed "high school" section for users under 18;
  • Implement changes making it harder for adults to contact children;
  • Dedicate resources to educating children and parents about online safety;
  • Provide a way to report abuse on every content page, consider adopting a common mechanism to report abuse and respond within 72 hours to abuse reports.

MySpace will also create and lead an Internet Safety Technical Task Force; which in conjunction with the attorneys general and other social networking sites, experts and groups will develop improved Internet safety practices.

Reports will be issued quarterly, with a report on the group's formal findings and recommendations planned for a late 2008 release.