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New York subpoenas Facebook in sex case

ALBANY, N.Y. – New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has subpoenaed Facebook after the company did not respond to “many” complaints by investigators solicited for sex while posing as teenagers on the social-networking site.

Investigators set up profiles as 12- to 14-year-olds, and the decoys were quickly contacted by other users seeking sex, Cuomo said. On several occasions, Facebook did not respond to written complaints, he said.

Cuomo joins several state attorneys general in raising questions about social-networking sites and how well they protect users from predators. Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal has said civil lawsuits against MySpace, Facebook and others are possible.

The New York investigators said Facebook did, in some instances, take down pages in response to their messages about inappropriate communications and content. But other complaints about user groups hosting “hardcore pornography” were ignored, Cuomo said.

Facebook spokesman Brandee Barker said the states’ concerns are being taken “very seriously.”

“We strive to uphold our high standards for privacy on Facebook and are constantly working on processes and technologies that will further improve safety and user control on the site,” Barker said.

On Monday, Cuomo released a letter to Facebook over its safety claims. The subpoenas seek copies of complaints made to the company as well as its relevant policies.