A new app will let you check all your Facebook friends against the National Sex Offender Registry. But who actually needs this service?
A press release issued by the company Verify Anybody warns, "Unfortunately, there are people who are convicted sex offenders utilizing social networks and dating sites on a daily basis for evil intentions. Verify Anybody knowing this has decided to develop Friend Verifier as a free app to not only give a tool to the masses but to also raise awareness about personal safety on the Internet." Adds Verify Anybody CEO Joe Penora, "Knowledge is power, and if we can help just one user make a better informed decision that could save their life, then this app is well worth it."
The app lets you scan either your current friends or your incoming friend requests, and it could be useful for finding out if that guy Roblax Sim has any rape convictions (though he's probably just a spambot). An equally effective tactic, though, is just to reject friend requests from people you don't know. And if you're worried that someone you do know is a sex offender, you don't really need an app — you can just search for them on the registry yourself. Also, as many have pointed out in the debate over whether dating sites should screen their users, not every dangerous person is on the sex offender registry. If you're worried about who sees your info, it's probably best to calibrate your privacy preferences carefully and not friend just anybody, rather than relying on an app to protect you.