According to this NPR “All Things Considered” report from last night, MySpace has hired Hemanshu Nigam, “a former prosecutor from the Justice Department to patrol the site and educate its users.” I thought it was an interesting report for a couple of reasons:
- The reporters referred to MySpace as a “Social Networking Site” where much of the goal was to be “cool.” I like this because they did not call MySpace a “blog” (which of course it isn’t), and they did describe the primary purpose of MySpace of being cool.
- MySpace is walking a very delicate line between having a certain level of security to satisfy parents but also not curtailing the “cool factor” by hiring a narc. There might be 69 million users of MySpace right now, but (as the report said) these users are fickle and could just as easily switch to the “next big thing.” After all, a lot of these users used to be on Friendster. Danah Boyd argues there’s a difference between the services, but then again, maybe there isn’t.
- As the report made clear, it’s fuzzy at best the number of cases of sexual predators and such that happens in relation to MySpace. The Los Angeles Times reporter being interviewed about the story, Chris Gaither, said that in LA county, about 10 cases of pedophiles or other sex crimes are associated with MySpace. Ten or so, and I’ll bet there’s more than a million users in LA county, too.
Anyway, an interesting piece worth checking out.