MySpace garners criticism

Published 5:11 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2006

By Staff
MySpace has become the topic of discussion among most media moguls, and for good reason.
Since its launch in May 2004, MySpace has accumulated 67 million new members. Not too shabby for a nearly two-year-old site.
However, since its debut, more than 250,000 profiles of underage users have been removed, and MySpace spokeswoman Dani Dudeck declined to disclose the total number of profiles removed for violations of the company's policy.
I recently became a MySpace user. It was by default, actually. A friend of mine lives in Hawaii and told me to look at some pictures she had taken underwater.
I had hastily signed up with a friend, and then turned around and set up my own account. I have been hooked ever since.
The rules are simple. Membership requires users to be at least 14 years or older, no pornography or materials of graphic nature can be placed on the site and a slew of others not in fine print are established right off the bat when setting up an account.
Anyone in violation is taken off and banned from the site. But what stops them from setting up a bogus account and getting right back on?
That appears to be the struggles with MySpace, and other similar sites, such as Friendster, which is taking down 1,000 to 2,000 profiles a week, according to Kent Lindstrom, president of Friendster.
What appears to be loads of harmless fun can actually turn into something quite serious. It was recently reported on that early this month two men were arrested in separate incidents for allegedly engaging in sexual contact with minors they met through MySpace.
In fact, one of my friends who is in her mid-20s had a similar problem. She simply set her profile to a mode that only allowed people who knew her last name to become a &#8220friend.” It's just that simple.
Open Web sites such as MySpace will have its problems and kinks. Minors will slip through the cracks, and perverts will continue to scour sites.
Many blame MySpace for letting these incidents happen, but in reality it's up to parents and ourselves to control who we speak with.
There are cautionary tactics children can take on MySpace. The site limits the amount of information displayed on profiles posted by 14-16 year olds.
In cases involving adults, the basic approach is to not give out too much personal information, and if somebody you do not know sends you a message and you don't want to be involved with them, do what I do and reject their proposal.
Mary-Allison Lancaster is the managing editor of the Brewton Standard. She can be reached at, or by phone at 251-867-4876.