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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

MySpace to Let Parents Monitor Children's Accounts

MySpace is looking to release a parental notification software called Zephyr that will let parents know what their kids are up to. Whenever a user logs onto her MySpace account on a computer with Zephyr installed, her name, age, and hometown are automatically downloaded, and her account is tagged so any future changes will also show up.

Why would MySpace want to jeopardize the trust of its millions of teen users?
But a group of 33 state attorneys general led by Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal are investigating taking legal action against MySpace if it doesn't raise the age limit to join the site to 16 (from 14 currently) and begin verifying MySpace members' ages against public databases.

A lawsuit by the attorneys general could cost MySpace tens of millions of dollars in fees and generate reams of negative publicity, at a time when major advertisers are just overcoming their concerns about the site.
The number one US website has approximately 22% of users under the age of 18, who are likely to jump ship to a more secure social network if Zephyr is released. Competitors like Facebook and Xanga have ruled out parental notification software.


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