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MySpace Adds Protections For Minors

MySpace.com, the most popular teen hangout on the Web, added on Wednesday protections for minors, a move that followed by a couple of days a Texas lawsuit filed by a 14-year-old girl who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a man she met on the site.

The social-networking site, which has posted tremendous growth over the last year, has become the focus of child advocacy groups that fear MySpace.com has become a favorite of sexual predators. Concerns over the safety of teens on the site have sparked a federal proposal to bar schools and libraries from allowing children to access MySpace.com and other similar sites.

In trying to allay the public, MySpace.com, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., put in place Wednesday added security for 14- and 15-year-old members, new options for privacy settings for all members and restrictions on ad placements to teens.

"MySpace is committed to innovating new product features to heighten online safety, particularly in the area of 14 to 15 year olds," Hemanshu Nigam, chief security officer for MySpace.com, said in a statement. "In addition to technology innovation, MySpace remains dedicated to a multi-pronged approach that also involves education and collaboration with law enforcement, teachers, parents and members."

MySpace.com recently hired Nigam, a former federal prosecutor against Internet child exploitation for the U.S. Department of Justice, to oversee its child protection measures.

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