Convicted sex offenders must reveal their criminal status on Facebook, says Louisiana law

Filed Under: Facebook, Featured, Law & order, Privacy, Social networks

Starting August 1, convicted child predators and sex offenders in Louisiana not only have to register with the local authorities, such as police and schools, they will also be required to post their crime on their Facebook page and other social networking profile pages, according to Reuters.

The state seems to be forging a new path when it comes to laws about disclosure.

And the punishment for affected offenders who do not comply with this law is steep: two-to-ten years years without parole in a hard-labour prison.

Now if you are familiar with Facebook's terms and conditions, you will know that this issue should already covered be with the statement

"You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender."

But as you can see in the screenshot below, this statement is nestled among other requirements that I am sure more than a handful of users ignore.

Some might see this bill as a way for Louisiana to keep a closer eye on sex and child predators.

Or, perhaps Louisiana doesn't actually expect any convicted sex criminal to comply at all. Think about it, if these offenders were law-abiding citizens by nature, they probably wouldn't be convicted criminals.

So, maybe the new legislation is actually there as a just-in-case measure: should a sex offender cause even a sniff of trouble - and hasn't complied with the law by declaring their sex offender status on Facebook - the authorities have a significant punishment up their sleeves. With users reluctant to announce they they are sex offenders, this could be an effective way of driving predators offline.

The flipside might be of concern to some: if convicted sex offenders do comply with the law and post their status on Facebook, what kind of reaction would that status incite in the neighbourhood?

We all know that sex crimes, particularly those that involve children, are difficult for many of us to deal with, let alone forgive. Is it possible that Louisiana might have more unrest by demanding compliance with this law?

I guess we will just have to wait and find out how it all pans out. It certainly will be interesting to see if other city and state governments follow suit.

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15 Responses to Convicted sex offenders must reveal their criminal status on Facebook, says Louisiana law

  1. Anon · 762 days ago

    Do the Facebook T&C say, "You will not use Facebook if you value your privacy"? *That* is the reason I don't use it.

    • Lina · 762 days ago

      If you're dumb enough to put everything about yourself up there then....

      If you value your privacy you don't put your real photos, your real name nor your real company name on your facebook

  2. electroman · 762 days ago

    Making laws like this, is exactly why you shouldn't vote for Republican idiots.

    And why didn't the Facebook Lawyers step up to the plate to stop the law.

    Why didn't anybody step up to the plate to stop it.

    Now states will have free reign to make website owners jump thru all their hoops.

    Just Great...!!!

    • MW · 762 days ago

      electroman... the article stated that it was already against FB policy for a sex offender. if a sex offender now has to state that he is one, this will do 1 of 2 things. make FB's job easier because they will know who's account they need to disable (for the rare sort that actually admits this on FB) or 2, have no affect on FB because they have no way of knowing. The onus is on the user and LA, not FB. IF LA finds out someone is not complying, they tell FB and FB cancels the account. It takes FB 2 seconds to disable a _sex offender's_ FB page. Easy peasy. Like the author said, all this does is make it easier for the state to prosecute these people.Take your donkey-loving sex-offender-protecting blinders off.

  3. Pete · 762 days ago

    So how do they know I have a Facebook account in I only view it on the local Library's PC?

  4. Anon · 762 days ago

    The problem with the sex offender disclosure laws is that they are too broad. All sex offenders are lumped into the same category, whether they are a serial rapist or a peeping Tom. When someone hears the term "sex offender" they usually assume the worst.

    This can be oppressive for ex-offenders who are trying to turn their life around, find a place to live, and find a job. If you are a "sex offender" no one wants you to live anywhere near them or work at their company. Where are these people supposed to go, and if they want to straighten their life out, how are they supposed to do that?

  5. Larry M · 762 days ago

    Carole wrote: "The flipside might be of concern to some: if convicted sex offenders do comply with the law and post their status on Facebook, what kind of reaction would that status incite in the neighbourhood?"

    Unlikely to have any effect at all. The information is already available through much easier means. Go here: http://sexoffender.ncdoj.gov/disclaimer.aspx, click Agree, and enter any North Carolina zip code, i.e., any 5-digit number beginning with 26 or 27. Try 27511, 27512, 27513, 27609, or 27612, for example. Hover your pointer over any of the red pentagons on the map. Find out whether a sex offender lives across the street.

  6. Mike · 762 days ago

    They're going to use funds from Obamacare to enforce this. Just Great....!!

  7. cassandratoday · 762 days ago

    When we talk about "sex offenders," we're quick to think of predators who have raped children. But that category also includes, say, a college kid who mooned the wrong cop when he was drunk one night. Is it really more important to single out that person than, say, a serial ax murder who just happened not to have a sexual motive? This is all getting out of hand.

    Full disclosure: I never raped, mooned, or murdered anyone, so this is not a self-serving argument.

  8. OhMy · 762 days ago

    I have to wonder if this upcoming law has a way to tell if it is a real sex offender that signed up for Facebook or someone doing it to get the pervert locked up , which I do not use.

    From my reading Facebook hasn't done a very good of keeping under 13 teens off nor keeping someone from appearing a a famous person or business.

    Maybe I'm not their target market? I can't see the attraction at all.

  9. MikeP · 762 days ago

    So what about all those felons who do not have a Facebook account?

    Strikes me as a typically daft politians' approach that is quite useless at protecting the vulnerable and gullible from the nefarious few.

  10. NotARealName · 762 days ago

    As one of those people who did make a mistake like that early on in life, I can safely say that, now a grown man and no longer registered in the database, this law is retarded. Maybe if it was put into light by saying only level 2 and 3 sex offenders, like the public database has(btw, no level 1 will EVER appear in the sex offender database for anyone), but I still think that requiring to post your details in social media is just asking to be hazed electronically. I have a thick skin, but risking being hacked, have my information posted on a certain number with a "chan" and being pizza-bombed or debt-correction bombed is not good times. Like someone above me posted, people that are turning their life around would be negatively impacted from this, and I think it's a law that promotes people to be retaliated against.

    As for the Terms of Service reference, I actually did not read it, and still use Facebook. I also don't go snooping for little child people to harm physically or emotionally though. I know there are plenty of creepers out in the world; Throughout my sex offender treatment, I have met quite a few. The difference between this law and the ToS is that the ToS can't land you in jail, and for the "handful"(I'd like to believe it's a slight under exaggeration) of us that actually did turn our lives around, it'd completely ruin our social lives and despite what some people say to me about how it happened in the past, there are a lot of people that would unfriend me in a heartbeat if they knew I had that kind of thing on my record. What kind of message does that spread and would that compel someone to try to turn their life around and become a better citizen post-incarceration/parole?

  11. stib · 762 days ago

    By far the best article I've read on SO registries:
    http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/24/sex-offender-reg...

  12. Bedridden Abdul Al Barten · 761 days ago

    I could be wrong but as sex offenders are on a public register in the UK then the Louisiana law would enable extradition under the current US-UK treaty for non-disclosure of a UK Facebook user.. (Offence carries more 1 year prison sentence and 'The Child Sex Offenders Disclosure Scheme' in the UK may have been breached by non disclosure on Facebook)

    I have not met any child sex offenders, the nearest was a brother of one (who was addicted to violence), but is this legislation unfair to the wives and children of these offenders who are already traumatised by the acts of their relative?

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About the author

Hi. I am a social, brand and communications expert with 10 years in senior roles in the tech space. I'm currently Sophos' s Global Director of Social Media and Communities. Proudest work achievement? Creating and launching award-winning Naked Security. Outside work, I am a mean cook, an avid reader, a chronic insomniac, a podcast obsessive and blogger .