MySpace Brands Innocent Woman as “Sex Offender”

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MySpace, which recently capitulated to legal demands and has started openly identifying and maintaining a database of sex offenders who have created profiles on the MySpace site, has accidentally branded an innocent woman, Jessica Davis, as a sex offender.

Unfortunately, the innocent Jessica Davis, who lives in Colorado, shares the same name as an actual sex offender named Jessica Davis, who lives in Utah.

It all started last week when the innocent Jessica Davis received an email from MySpace, saying that “It has come to MySpace’s attention that you are a registered sex offender in one or more jurisdictions.” She had 14 days to appeal the removal of her profile and the addition of her name to the MySpace sex offenders database.


 

But it took her less than 14 minutes to respond, as she instantly fired off a reply saying “You have the wrong person!” and adding that “I want to inform you that I am NOT a sex offender, let me repeat my self, I am NOT a sex offender. You have the wrong person and I’m horrified and appalled at such an accusation. I would like to know where you got this information and would like this matter cleared up ASAP.”

And, MySpace did indeed have the wrong person, but that apparently didn’t move them. After not hearing back from them and, most likely understandably nervous about this, Jessica wrote to them again. This time she heard back from them, in a response which showed a stunning lack of concern over their falsely branding her as a sex offender: “We do not keep records of removed profiles or images. If it was removed by MySpace it was because of a violation of our terms and conditions — which can include a number of things (underage, inappropriate images, cyber bullying, spam, etc). Please review our terms for further assistance.”

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MySpace Brands Innocent Woman as “Sex Offender”

Fortunately for Jessica Davis (the innocent), the company that actually reviews profiles and maintains the sex offender database for MySpace, Sentinal, got involved. In fact, Sentinal’s CEO, John Cardillo, himself got involved, and in a brief phone conversation was able to clearly establish that Jessica Davis (of Colorado) was not the Jessica Davis the sex offender (of Utah).


 

“The Jessica Davis in question is absolutely not a sex offender,” said Cardillo, adding that “It was so close, it was one of those rare instances where there was nothing else we could have done but flag her.”

It turns out that Jessica Davis the innocent and Jessica Davis the sex offender had dates of birth that were two days apart – but also two years apart. Also, they both lived in Florida at the same time.

Is that enough to presume someone guilty until proven innocent? And what about the next innocent that MySpace brands “guilty”? Will Sentinal’s CEO get personally involved in every case of MySpace misidentification?

Of course, thousands of people are falsely identified as sex offenders every year – most in the context of a mother falsely accusing a father of abusing their child in order to gain the upper hand in a divorce case.

But here, MySpace not only wrongly branded Jessica Davis (of Colorado) as a sex offender, but they apparently didn’t care, even though her name would go into their database, to which all sorts of agencies have access.

Ironically, Jessica plans to go to law school and to practice law in the public sector. Perhaps she’ll work to advocate for those falsely accused of sexual abuse.

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MySpace Brands Innocent Woman as “Sex Offender”

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5 Replies to “MySpace Brands Innocent Woman as “Sex Offender””

  1. if myspace is so worried about the kids on its site, then why are they letting them on. It says that you have to be 18 or older, this is apparently not true. Its good that they want to help protect against sex offenders, but they also need to abide by their own laws and follow up on their subscribers. This is the main reason that I am no longer a myspacer.

  2. I see too many people being accussed of being a sexial predator and losing their children and their jobs. The divorce industry is big money and you don’t have to be convicted by a jury to have this put in and ruin your life. Check out www.crispe.org and you will see what parents are doing to combat this and get reunited with their children. Also CRISPE has a bus that is driving across the country to make people aware this is a serious people that you can be losing your rights without even knowing it because of false information in these government contractor databases that don’t get the same scrutiny if they are owned by the government.

  3. Too bad she got it cleared up before MySpace made it public. It would have been interesting to see if she could have successfully sued them for libel and collected a 7 figure jury award.

    But if MySpace is that cavalier about branding people with undeserved labels and unwilling to properly investigate reports of false positives, it won’t be long before MySpace gets nailed with a huge jury award.

    You may be able to get away with a small accident when you’re claiming “it’s for the children”, but not if you’re being reckless, negligent, and unresponsive when you’re ruining adults’ lives in the process.

  4. At last…someone who broke through the inevitable beuracracy that swallows most corporations and their customers.

  5. This whole MySpace debacle borders on the ridiculous. When are they going to start MyWitchHunt.com for all the undesirables of the world? Get a life, sheeple.

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