Thanks to a new law in Louisiana, social networking sites may need to add a new field to users’ profiles that lets them declare whether or not they’re registered sex offenders. As of August 1, the online profiles of sex offenders and child predators in the state must list “notice of the crime for which he was convicted, the jurisdiction of conviction, a description of his physical characteristics … and his residential address.” But rest assured, Facebook says you shouldn’t have any extremely uncomfortable status updates showing up in your news feed.
Though Facebook supports the law, the company told CNN it “will have no direct” effect on the site, as “Our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities already bars registered sex offenders from using Facebook.” Essentially, Louisiana sex offenders can’t legally use Facebook, since they’ll be kicked off the site if they openly display their status. Though many sites have similar policies, Louisiana lawmakers say the new legislation is meant to cover those that don’t, rather than relying on websites to police themselves.
The law bringing notification requirements to the Internet is the first of its kind, though a few states already prohibit sex offenders from using social networking sites altogether. Louisiana would love to join them. The state has been working on legislation banning offenders from using sites like Facebook and Twitter entirely (or even resorting to MySpace) since a federal court struck down a law that would have banned sex offenders from using the Internet altogether.