ABC News reports that Michael G. Fitzpatrick, a Pennsylvania congressman, has introduced legislation that would ban minors from accessing social networking websites such as MySpace, and forbid libraries from making such access available. The bill goes by the name “Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006.”
“Sites like Myspace and Facebook have opened the door to a new online community of social networks between friends, students and colleagues,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement posted to his web site. “However, this new technology has become a feeding ground for child predators that use these sites as just another way to do our children harm.”
This bill would require the FCC to publish a sort of annual blacklist of “commercial social networking websites and chat rooms that have been shown to allow sexual predators easy access to personal information of, and contact with, children.” However the language describing a “social networking site” is somewhat vague. The bill would also require the government to set up a web site warning of the dangers of social networking.
Will it pass? Probably not the way it is currently written but no doubt that the heat will continue to be applied to sites like MySpace unless the social networking site themselves work harder to protect youth from predators as well as viewing inappropriate content.