File under the strange things that social networking sites think will stop sex offenders, or maybe that should be really stupid things because Faceparty has reportedly deleted the accounts of most of its users who are over the age of 36 for just that reasoning. Yep, although it beggars belief, Out-Law.com says that Faceparty claims UK Government law is behind the move even though the particular legislation in question has yet to come into force. It reports that a "huge number of accounts" have been deleted for a number of reasons to do with filtering out the potential sexual predators, and cites being over 36 amongst them.
The most remarkable thing here is that a Faceparty explanation of the move attempts to justify it by stating that it understand "only a minority of older users are sex offenders" but goes on to plead that "you must understand that we cannot tell which."
Oh well, that's OK then. Best delete all male accounts as most sex offenders are not female, in order to catch all of them. Oh, and all the female ones as well as many sex offenders pretend to be young females in order to entrap their victims. Can't tell which, so shut 'em all down.
This is the knee jerk mentality taken to its ultimate conclusion, it seems to me.
Apparently the UK Government is to blame because it has passed the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 which includes provisions, not law by the way - just provisions, for the Secretary of State to order sex offenders to register email addresses. Faceparty reckon that because it does not require validated email addresses it cannot comply.
So there we have it: Faceparty is removing accounts for people over the age of 36 because they may or may not be sexual offenders in order to comply with a law that not only does not mention any arbitrary age limit but isn't even a law as of yet.
You can read the full Faceparty explanation here although it does sound more like a drunken rant than anything. It tells people whose accounts have gone missing that "Having discussed the use of our website with the home office and the police, and further some pretty serious crimes caused by older users, we were left with no option but to terminate a huge amount of accounts, and without notice, immediately. We understand that only a minority of older users are sex offenders, but you must understand that we cannot tell which - we can only delete all to make the site safe and we apologise for that. However, we are following the law and you cannot think we are wrong for doing that."
Hey, I have news for you: yes we can. Or we could, of course, blame the takeover of Faceparty by a new company which is apparently only 'purchasing' some of its existing accounts. "Anarchy Towers is NOT legally obliged to purchase all of the member accounts from CIS Internet Ltd, and nor does it intend to. Your contract with CIS Internet Ltd ends with the closure of CIS Internet Ltd. Anarchy Towers can only afford to buy a certain number of accounts - there is most likely nothing personal in it, we can only buy what we can afford" the official statement reads, continuing "Faceparty was set up as a youth entertainment portal. Anarchy Towers will not be purchasing profiles of people who use the website for the wrong reasons." Reasons that include, so it says, "using it as a dating site for the over 50s."
So could the real reason for the age ban be coming to light here then? Could Faceparty be trying to reinvent itself as a cool hangout for cool young people only? Perish the thought...
Oh, and by the way, I am 44 years old...