MySpace Safety and Security Overview - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

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MySpace Safety and Security Overview

MySpace is committed to making our community as safe as possible for all of our members.  Safety and security are built into every new site feature and we have designed and built features specifically to enhance the security of our online community.  This is an ongoing process that we are constantly reviewing and updating under the leadership of our Chief Security Officer, Hemanshu Nigam, who spent 17 years as a career prosecutor and child safety advocate.  Nigam is a former Department of Justice Internet crimes prosecutor who held executive-level security positions at Microsoft and the MPAA and who leads a team that works full-time on safety and security-related initiatives across the company. In addition, MySpace has a robust team dedicated to policy enforcement and content review that work to identify potential problems and takes immediate action when safety and/or security issues occur.

We work hard to provide users with access to age appropriate content, to shield younger users from older members of the community, and to partner with law enforcement in these efforts.  Some of the most significant steps we have taken in this area include:

Preventing Underage Users

  • Our Terms of Use indicate that users must be 14 yrs of age or older to utilize our site
  • We employ a search algorithm, utilizing several thousand terms commonly used by underage users, to seek and weed out individuals misrepresenting their age
  • Additionally, our team actively searches out underage users by hand
  • We delete thousands of profiles per week for misrepresenting their age

Protecting Younger Users from Inappropriate Contact

  • Users under 16 are automatically assigned a Private Profile
  • No user can Browse for users under 16
  • Adults can never add under 16's as a friend unless they know the under 16's last name or email address (adult must know the user in the physical world)
  • If users under 16 override their privacy settings, they are still only viewable by other users under 18
  • Mature groups cannot be accessed by under 18's
  • Users under 18 can block all users over 18 from contacting them or viewing their profile
  • 14/15 yr olds are tagged to be un-searchable by age on search engines
  • 14/15 yr olds can only receive group invites from the individuals in the friend network
  • Users under 18 cannot access age-inappropriate areas such as Romance and Relationship chat, forums and groups, Mature groups and certain Classified categories including dating and casting calls
  • Users under 18 cannot browse for age inappropriate categories such as relationship status, smoker, drinker, or income
  • Users over 18 are limited in their ability to search in the School section- they can only search for high school students graduating in the current or upcoming year
  • The creation and implementation of a porn website database that restricts users from posting mature links on their profile

Protecting Younger Users from Inappropriate Content

  • All hosted images and videos are reviewed for compliance with Terms of Use (this includes over 10 million new images and videos uploaded everyday)
  • Known inappropriate URLs are blocked from being posted on the site
  • lP logs of image uploads are captured
  • User accounts deleted for uploading pornographic videos
  • Alcohol related ads prohibited from reaching under 21's
  • Smoking/Drinking preferences blocked for under 18's/under 21's
  • Groups and classifieds are reviewed when inappropriate content is suspected
  • Users under 18 are defaulted in a way that requires them to pre-approve all comments made on their profiles

Reporting Inappropriate Content

  • Users can report inappropriate content or behavior to MySpace
  • Users can report spam email complaints to MySpace
  • Users can directly report sexually explicit conduct to NCMEC's CyberTipLine
  • Users can easily "Report Abuse" in email, videos, forum posts and classifieds
  • Users are easily able to provide reasons when reporting images for TOS violations

Providing Tools for all Members

  • All users can set profile to Private
  • Users can pre-approve all comments before being posted
  • Users can block another user from contacting them
  • Users can conceal their ‘online now' status
  • Users can prevent forwarding of their images to other sites
  • Users over 18 can block users under 18 from contacting them or viewing their profile
  • All users can allow only those users whom they have proactively added to their Contact List to see when they are on IM and to contact them
  • Users can make all their photos, or sections of their photos, Private
  • 32,000 trained school moderators oversee school forums

Providing Education

  • All users under 18 receive security warnings before posting content
  • All users under 18 must review and scroll through Safety Tips when they sign-on to the site
  • Safety Tips link on every page which includes links to parent monitoring and blocking software
  • Contact MySpace link on every page
  • MySpace Parent Brochure available on Parent Safety Tips page
  • School Administrator's Guide to Understanding MySpace and Social Networking Sites distributed to over 55,000 schools.
  • Aggressive education campaign through MySpace, News Corp properties, and third-party partners including National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, National PTA, AdCouncil, Seventeen Magazine, National School Board Association & the National Association of Independent Schools.
  • Extensive PSA campaigns across News Corp properties

Partnering with Non-profit Organizations 

  • Partnerships with the Illinois Library Association and the American Library Association to distribute millions of bookmarks on Internet safety in public libraries across the U.S.
  • AMBER Alerts: MySpace partners with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to distribute localized online AMBER alerts via MySpace so MySpace users can help bring a missing child home
  • Education Partnerships with organizations such as BlogSafety.com, NetFamilyNews.com, WiredSafety.org, I Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe.org), Cyberbullying 411, Enough is Enough and MySpace MyKids
  • The donation of Sentential SAFE to NCMEC

Partnering with Law Enforcement

  • Ongoing support for local, state, and federal law enforcement in investigations and prosecutions
  • 24/7 dedicated hotline and email created for use by law enforcement - not just for emergencies
  • Ongoing training provided to cyber crime units on how to investigate and prosecute cyber criminals using MySpace
  • Law Enforcement Guide and One Sheet created to help law enforcement agencies understand MySpace and investigate cases

Dedicated MySpace Teams

  • Customer Care Team: handles sensitive user issues within 72 hours
  • Content Assurance Team: ensures integrity of safety systems and flags potential flaws
  • Parent Care Team: dedicated parent hotline, email (parentcare@myspace.com )and guidebook
  • School Care Team: dedicated educator hotline, email (schoolcare@myspace.com) and guidebook
  • Law Enforcement Team:  dedicated hotline, email (lawenforcement@myspace.com) and guidebook
  • Security Incident Response Team: dedicated security team that works to identify potential problems and takes immediate action when security issues occur

Taking Ongoing Safety/Security Measures to Spot & Solve Safety Challenges

  • Email verification required for all new MySpace members
  • Zepyhr: MySpace is developing software, called Zephyr, to help parents easily determine whether their teen has a MySpace profile, learn about safety and to ensure their teen's age is accurate.
  • Email Registration Legislation: MySpace supports and has testified in favor of, federal and state legislation that would require registered sex offenders to register all of their email addresses, so that we can block them from accessing our site in the first place.  In January 2007, we partnered with Senators Schumer and McCain along with Congressmen Pomeroy, Gillmor, Weiner, and Chabot when they introduced the KIDS Act of 2007.  We also participated in the introduction of similar legislation by AG McDonnell in Virginia, AG McCollum in Florida, and AG Stumbo in Kentucky.  This legislation has now been passed in 11 states including AZ, CO, CT, FL, IL, KS, KY, LA, MS, OK and VA.
  • Joint Statement on Key Principles of Social Networking Safety: MySpace and Attorneys General in the Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking representing 49 states and the District of Columbia join forces to unveil a Joint Statement on Key Principles of Social Networking Safety designed for industry-wide adoption.  This common set of Principles relates to online safety tools, technology, education and law enforcement cooperation. 

These measures represent just a sampling of the steps MySpace has taken to protect our community's safety and enforce our rules.  We look forward to answering any questions you might have and sharing new security initiatives with you on an ongoing basis.

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