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MySpace bowed to critics yesterday and stepped up earlier minor-protection efforts. The social site announced new restrictions that take effect on its site next week. These restrictions (collectively called "no such thing as a free speech") sound confusing, but they're really quite simple:

  • Users over 18 can't make friendships with users aged 14 or 15 without knowing their e-mail addresses or names. This will be flawless, because no one ever finds a stranger's e-mail address online.
  • Anyone under 18 can talk to anyone else under 18, because 17-year-olds don't commit sexual assault.
  • Online dating sites won't advertise to people under 18. Actually, this is because people under 18 don't have credit cards, but spinning it as user protection was a clever move.
  • The annoying "punch the monkey" ads will now double as thumbprint-scan ID checks.
  • Every user under 18 can still say they're 20, and every user over 18 can still say they're 14.
  • Co-founder Tom Anderson (pictured) is accused of sexually harassing the 2 million minors he's friended.

MySpace to Add Restrictions to Protect Younger Teenagers [NY Times]