New law will make sex offenders list their conviction statuses on Facebook, Twitter

Sex crimes may soon be a lot harder to keep secret for social network users in Louisiana.

A new law, which goes into effect August 1, will require that sex offenders clearly state their criminal status on social network sites like Facebook and Twitter, CNN reports.

In addition to their criminal status, the law also requires sex offenders and child predators to include the location and description of their crimes, as well as their physical characteristics and addresses.

Sex offender registration laws are nothing new, as many states already require sex offenders to publicly list their locations. These can then be accessed on online databases, many of which also feature detailed map information. The new law, however, takes these measures a step further.

Facebook, however, already bars convicted sex offenders from using the service. “You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender,” reads the company’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. If Facebook learns that a user is a convicted sex offender, it will disable the user’s account and remove all data associated with it.

There’s no equivalent clause in the Terms of Service for Twitter and Pinterest, though.

So what’s the point of the new law? Louisiana state representative Jeff Thompson says the measure offers a new tool for prosecutors. “I don’t want to leave in the hands of social network or Facebook administrators, ‘Gee, I hope someone is telling the truth,'” he told CNN.

Sex offenders found violating the law could face imprisonment of up to 10 years, along with a fine of up to $1,000. A second offense could result in a maximum of 20 years in jail and a $3,000 fine.

The law is a follow-up to a failed Louisiana measure that sought to completely prevent convicted sex offenders from using the Internet. That law was shot down by a federal court for being too broad, not to mention a civil rights violation, according to American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana

Photo: Frustrated man/Shutterstock


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