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Monday, September 24, 2007

Ohio Atty. Gen. Marc Dann: Allied With New York's Cuomo In Facebook Probe

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Ohio Atty. Gen. Marc Dann has confirmed his office is investigating Facebook, the social networking Website that is popular with students. The Daily Bellwether also has obtained the full-text of a letter from the New York attorney general's office that contends the site is used by sexual predators to find child victims, or to recruit Facebook users for porno films. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's six-page letter (pdf) to Facebook executives was timed to coincide with Dann's disclosure in Ohio. Cuomo said undercover investigators had discovered inappropriate content and hardcore pornography.

From Cuomo's letter:

"Perhaps, most alarmingly, Facebook ignored several -- and repeated -- complaints from our undercover investigators concerning persons who made inappropriate advances to underage users. The OAG made these complaints to Facebook both as underage users as well as parents of underage users.

"For instance, on August 30, an OAG investigator created a profile for a fourteen-year-old female high school student from New York. Approximately a week later, she received a Facebook message from a 24 year old man, asking 'do you have any nude pics.' The investigator lodged a complaint with Facebook as the student's mother from a Hotmail account complaining that her daughter was being solicited by older men. The next day, Facebook sent a response saying that Facebook 'will review the reported material and remove anything that violate our Terms of Use.' To date, however, Facebook has taken no further action, and the 24-year-old's profile is still available on the Facebook site."

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