How to report convicted sex offenders on Facebook

10:48 PM, Mar 12, 2012   |    comments
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Many people don't know it's against Facebook's policy: convicted sex offenders are not allowed to use the social networking site.

William Bennett is an Akron man, convicted several years ago for sexually battering teenage boys.

He served jail time for 14 months and according to court records, his probation period ended in 2005.

Bennett is allowed to use the Internet today, but Facebook prohibits convicted sex offenders from using the web site in any way.

A viewer alerted Channel 3 that Bennett has a Facebook page under the name "William He Is - (Wild Bill).

Facebook counts on its millions of users to report violations of its company rules.

Facebook says of its policy:

"Once we are able to verify a user's status as a sex offender, we immediately disable their account and remove their account and all information associated with it."

The Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) is monitoring about 1000 sexual predators at any given time.

Supervisor Rick Bell says, the danger is that Facebook's privacy settings make it difficult for parents to know what's going on with their child's Facebook page.

"[Sexual predators] are frequently trying to find new ways to trick law enforcement and that's our job -- to find ways to stay ahead of the curve," Bell said.

Bell says it can be hard for social media sites to keep up with every user, after all, Facebook has 500 million active users.

"It doesn't mean the predators are using their real names. They are frequently using bogus, or false names in order to have access to Facebook," Bell says.

Facebook and Summit County Deputies have been alerted to Bennett's Facebook profile. 

Facebook accepts several forms of documentation to verify someone's status as a convicted sex offender, including:

- a link to a listing in a national sex offender registry.

- a link to an online news article.

- a link to a court document

- documentation verifying the report attached to the sex offender report form.

If there's no way to provide documentation, you can ask a local law enforcement representative to contact Facebook so they can take action.

Suspicions of sexual predators establishing Facebook pages can also be anonymously reported to ICAC.  Click on the link on this page to learn more.


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