MySpace A Haven For Sex, Not For Advertisers

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Writing on Adotas, Pesach Lattin describes how he spent some time on MySpace and within minutes was able to find sexually related forum discussions between grownups and teenagers. Lattin writes, "MySpace is a buffet for any pervert looking for easy targets" and outlines how easily it is for anyone to access and partake in explicit activity on the site. Doing some digging Lattin found a group called Lesbian Passion in which 14 year old members were listed right next to 55 year olds and some discussion centered on which members have had sex with each other. He found other forums where adults and children were talking about having sex with each other in supposedly private but easily accessible forums. Lattin also found a public forum called "Bears" in which members were discussing having sex with young boys accompanied by photos, some of which were nude.

Now there's nothing wrong with sexual content, nothing wrong with talking about sex and nothing wrong with having sex but when any of these cross the under 18/over 18 line, people start to get concerned. We're sure MySpace nor any other similar group knowingly makes it easy for adults to mingle with under 18's but it happens and it's rampant. AOL was doing it a long time ago. Most of the activity is consensual but as was recently reported in the news, sometimes it's not. The last thing we want is for right wing religious groups to lobby government to force these communities to close. However, advertisers should be very aware of what they are spending their money on and what that money supports.

by Steve Hall    Feb-15-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Online, Opinion, Trends and Culture   

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Comments



Comments

Perverts buy stuff, too.

Posted by: epops on February 15, 2006 2:09 PM

I don't understand how AOL, which is supposed to be all about safe internet activity for families and kids could allow this to go on. Either shut it down or put on the proper safeguards.

Posted by: Barry S on February 15, 2006 2:32 PM

I don't understand how AOL, which is supposed to be all about safe internet activity for families and kids could allow this to go on. Either shut it down or put on the proper safeguards.

Posted by: Barry S on February 15, 2006 2:32 PM

AOL doesn't own MYSPACE. FOX does!

And what is also shady is how Fox Affiliates across the country keep running "news" segments on how great MYSPACE is without disclosing that Fox owns it!

Posted by: blah on February 15, 2006 2:41 PM

Hahaha. So true...this guy must've gotten the brief to do for market research from somewhere...or maybe he wants to psychologically redeem himself for having run those searches for personal reasons..

Regulation of the internet starts with parents. Anyway, I agree that I'd be more concerned that MYSPACE is own by the neo-con freaks at FOX.

Posted by: Leno on February 15, 2006 3:27 PM

This is going to be one of the largest issues facing open social networks over the coming years. As their popularity increases so to will reported incidents. We can always hope they're not serious, but there's already a report of one murder as a result of MySpace (http://digg.com/links/Girl_murdered_by_man_she_met_on_MySpace)

For those who run such sites, it's going to be really hard to do anything bar keep an eye on activity.

Posted by: Daniel, Rogue Connect on February 15, 2006 3:29 PM

This is what happens when you let nitwits "monitor" online communities. MySpace may have a lot of interaction between teens and adults -- that is true. However, what Lattin is missing is the fact that on MySpace, if you want your profile to be marked as "Private", you have to enter that your age is 15 or less. Therefore, a large number of adult MySpace users who seek to have a private profile are simply modifying their member info to be "15 years old".

Beyond that, probably half of the so-called "teens" on these boards that supposedly encourage interaction with adults are actually 310-pound, balding men in their 40's, eating a bag of Cheetos in their underwear on a Friday night. REAL teens do not seek out or cherish interaction (especially sexual) with older people, especially when the teen is female and the adult is male. Teen boys, on the other hand, may have an interest is older females (or gay males), but as our society has shown, when an older woman gets it on with a juvenile boy, it's tabloid entertainment, not a crime.

Posted by: TheCooper on February 15, 2006 3:31 PM

what does this have to do with advertising really?

Posted by: jamie on February 15, 2006 4:19 PM

It no longer surprises me that some people who respond to stories like this attack the messenger or are specifically concerned about a parent company's politics. That's just stupid.

This is and will be a serious problem and it's not just about bad parenting. Parents can't be everywhere all the time. And pedophiles are very determined and crafty when they seek out to prey on kids.

And what does this have to do with advertising? Well, if your an advertiser, and a bunch of negative stories start coming out of MySpace and other social communities, you're gonna pull your ad dollars.

I mean, we've all heard how this will be a major medium for marketing, right?

Posted by: Jonathan Trenn on February 15, 2006 6:05 PM

Jamie, are you nuts? MySpace is one of the biggest media outlets online. That's what it has to do with advertising.

Posted by: Steve Hall on February 15, 2006 6:17 PM

what's unfortunate about the Adotas article is that the author chooses to single out gay & lesbian communities when trying to prove his point. as a member of myspace, it seems that the problem with sexual predators is far more apparent in the straight communities.

Posted by: jamie on February 15, 2006 6:52 PM

Poor Jamie...you are a member of MySpace, you know NOTHING about sexual predators (gay, straight, alien, whatever), and you take it so personal because he mentioned 'gay & lesbian' in the article as examples. If you took the time to think about it for two minutes, you may realize that the reason he used those examples is simply WHAT HE FOUND AFTER TROLLING FOR TEN MINUTES!

He wasn't looking for a gay ol time...but the gay's seem to be looking ol the time for him. And please stay out of the advertising world if you really have to ask what this has to do with advertising. Stick to the local ACT UP pro bono PR campaign.

Posted by: Tmoney on February 15, 2006 11:10 PM

I think there is one very important point regarding Pesach's post that all of you seem to be missing so far. Following is a copy of my comment to his article. I would hope that AdRant would also take this to heart as they have contributed in a textual manner as well.

Pesach while I certainly find the activities you discuss in this post very disturbing, I am far more upset at the moment that you blatently stated "exact locations" and group names within MySpace laying a perfect path for predators to follow. If they (predators) didn't already know it was there or how to find it there, THEY DO NOW!

On top of that you actually posted screenshots of the kids pictures!

You've just contributed to inciting desires within predators and instructed them exactly where they need to go in order to participate in these horrible actions! You are NO BETTER than the entity (MySpace) of which you are publically cursing!

You claim to have previously been in law enforcement... what the hell were you thinking??!!

I ask that you edit your post immediately. Remove the screenshots and the references to specific group names. You can make a valid point WITHOUT providing details for predators to act on. Unless of course you intended to increase these sickening activities??!!

Posted by: Rhonda on February 16, 2006 3:22 AM

myspace averages 29 million visitors a day. it's the 6th largest english website in the world. it gets more traffic than amazon and microsoft. so the above article isn't surprising really. it's a matter of size really.

if you have 29 million people visiting a website every day it's impossible to believe that the 29 million people are going to be outstanding citizens. i'm sure there are mass murderers and serial killers and rapists that use myspace but that's just humanity.

think about it perspectively, urban agglomeration statistics say that 21 million people live in new york city. is every single person in new york city visited a website every single day.. wait 21 million isn't enough, let's add chicago. so every single person in new york city and chicago visited a website every single day, would that be a wise investment?

coming back to the internet, you could easily say that google is a haven for child pornographers and credit card thieves and hackers, but does that mean you're going to cancel all your adwords accounts?

are there not rapists and serial killers using ebay?

bottom line: myspace is easily the best place to advertise on the internet to target the everyday teenage market (and even older) there's no doubt about it.

Posted by: jamie@f-m.fm on February 16, 2006 12:15 PM

also i'd like to point out that while i asked what this had to do with advertising, the gay and lesbian comment was made by another person named jamie.
:]

i'll use the name livejamie from now on.

Posted by: (live)jamie on February 16, 2006 12:19 PM

In reply to the "what does myspace have to do with advertising?" comment...Myspace has a LOT to do with advertising, a lot of labels and bands have been advertising themseleves through the website for free. It's pretty much free exposure.

Even hookers find business through myspace, it's true.

Posted by: applesinmono on February 16, 2006 2:17 PM

But most of the time it's the latter portion of people who find myspace to be of more use than labels and bands.

Posted by: applesinmono on February 16, 2006 2:22 PM

yes myspace itself has a lot to do with advertising, but this article doesn't.

Posted by: livejamie on February 16, 2006 2:30 PM

Jamie,

You must have a hole in your head. This article has everything to do with advertising because it informs marketers that they should be cautious when considering advertising on MySpace. As a marketer, I'd sure like to be informed about a media property I'm considering spending a bunch on money on and what effect it might have on the perception of my brand. Do you even work in advertising?

Posted by: Steve Hall on February 16, 2006 4:10 PM

yes i do.

i'd love to discuss this with you, do you have any counters to the points i made?

also i think it's pretty radical to suggest a consumer is going to perceive a brand as supporting pedophiles if they advertise on myspace.

Posted by: livejamie on February 16, 2006 5:17 PM







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