Just as registered sex offenders in many states must notify neighbors of their criminal status, Louisiana has passed a law requiring child predators and sex offenders to make the same disclosure on Facebook and other social networking sites.
Under the new law, sex offenders are required to indicate on their social networking page a "notice of the crime for which he was convicted, the jurisdiction of conviction, a description of his physical characteristics … and his residential address," CNN reported.
Signed into law earlier this month by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, the new law becomes effective August 1. Those who break the law could face between two and 10 years in prison, CNN said.
Written by Republican State Representative Jeff Thompson, the law is the first of its kind to expand the sex offender registration requirements to include a criminal's social media profile. Thompson, a father of a 13-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son, told CNN it's a necessary measure given the time children spend online.
The law "provides the same notice to persons in whose home you are injecting yourselves via the Internet. I challenge you today to walk down the street to see how many people and children are checking Pinterest, Instagram and other social networking sites. If you look at how common it is, that's 24 hours a day, seven days a week for somebody to interact with your children and your grandchildren."
While Facebook already bans sex offenders from using the social network, Thompson's bill was written to prevent possible lapses. As Facebook's security watchdog site, Facecrooks, explained, the law also will take the full burden of policing their social networking site off the site's administrators, and give "prosecutors another tool to keep these heinous offenders in check."