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MySpace plans database to screen sex offenders

The popular online hangout MySpace said Tuesday it will develop technologies to help block convicted sex offenders, the site's latest attempt to address complaints about sexual predators and other dangers to teens.

MySpace is partnering with Sentinel Tech Holding Corp. to build and deploy within 30 days a database that will contain the names and physical descriptions of convicted sex offenders in the United States. An automated system will search for matches between the database and MySpace user profiles. Employees will then delete any profiles that match.

Parents, school administrators and law enforcement authorities have grown increasingly worried that teens are at risk on MySpace and other social-networking sites, which provide tools for messaging, sharing photos and creating personal pages.

About 12 percent of all MySpace's visitors in October were under 18, according to comScore Media Metrix.

The tracking company counts Americans who visit the site at least once in a given month, so the proportion of teens may actually be higher based on time spent.

The aim of such sites is for users to expand their circles of friends - and critics say those circles sometimes come to include sexual predators.

Wired News said a recent investigation turned up hundreds of profiles for convicted sex offenders.