PDF file on Social Networking and Violence Perpetrators

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FRIEND REQUEST OR FOE? CONFIRMING THE MISUSE OF INTERNET AND SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES BY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PERPETRATORS Laurie L. Baughman* I. INTRODUCTION Social networking over the Internet has taken the world by storm-revolutionizing the way people communicate by allowing users to publish their private lives on a world stage. Internet sites such as MySpace and Facebook have been so popularized as of late that some have referred to these phenomena as the " 'Soda Fountains' for the Twenty-First Century."' A study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that: 79% of American adults used the Internet in 2009, up from 67% in [February] 2005. 46% of online American adults 18 and older use a social networking site like MySpace, Facebook, or Linkedin, up from 8% in 2005. As of August 2009, Facebook was the most popular online social network for American adults . .. . o 73% of adult SNS users have a Facebook account o 48% have a MySpace profile o 14% have an account on Linkedin o 1% each on Yahoo, YouTube, Tagged, Flickr and Classmates.com * Laurie L. Baughman is a Senior Attorney at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV). The author would like to thank Elizabeth R. Marx for her invaluable assistance in the development of this article. This article constitutes an expansion of research and a practice guide coauthored by Ms. Marx for the PCADV Civil Legal Representation Newsletter. See Laurie L. Baughman & Elizabeth Marx, Is it Really Only "My" Space?, Civ. LEGAL REPRESENTATION NEWSL. (Pa. Coal. Against Domestic Violence, Harrisburg, Pa.), Spring 2009, at 2, http://pubs.pcadv.net/clr/CLR_SummerNwsItr_2009.pdf. ' John S. Wilson, Comment, MySpace, Your Space, or Our Space? New Frontiers in Electronic Evidence, 86 OR. L. REV. 1201, 1219-20 (2007). 933
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934 WIDENER LAW JOURNAL [Vol. 19 o 10-12% are on 'other' sites like Bebo, Last FM, Digg, Blackplanet, Orkut, Hi5 and Match.com.^ As of January 2008, approximately one in four people in the United States were using MySpace as a way to keep in contact with their peers, meet new people, listen to music, share ideas, join organizations, play games, or participate in other activities that the world of social networking has to offer.^ At last count, one-fifth of those MySpace users "maintain a blog or personal Web page, sharing their personal stories, photographs and videos.""^ Similarly, Facebook has "[m]ore than 400 million active users," and approximately "35 million [of those] users update their status each day."^ Astoundingly, Facebook users upload about 3,000,000,000 photos every month.^ The "[ajverage [Facebook] user has 130 ^ Amanda Lenhart, Senior Research Specialist, Pew Internet & Am. Life Project, The Democratization of Online Social Networks: A Look at the Change in Demographics of Social Network Users Over Time, at slide 3 (Oct. 8, 2009), available at http://pewintemet.org/Presentations/2009/41-The-Democratization- of-Online-Social-Networks.aspx.
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