"If you're 14 or 15, for example, on our site you can no longer be contacted by anyone who's over the age of 18 unless they know who you are. Knowing who you are means they know your first name and your last name or know your e-mail address," said Hemanshu Nigam, Vice President of MySpace security.
Until now, any stranger could reach out to any teen on MySpace. Critics say social-networking sites like FaceBook and MySpace have inadvertently become a place where sexual predators troll for victims. MySpace alone has 87 million members.
Just this week MySpace got slammed with a $30 million lawsuit after a 14-year-old girl said she was assaulted by 19-year-old Pete Solis. They hooked up on MySpace and met in person a few weeks later. Solis says he's just as much a victim because the girl allegedly lied about her age in her MySpace profile.
"It was just a complete shock," Solis said. "I mean, I hadn't seen … I mean I didn't expect anything 'cause I didn't hurt her in any way, and if I did I was sorry."
Since anyone can lie about their age in their profile, attorneys for both sides in the case agree MySpace's security measures fall short.
"Those protections, in fact, we believe, are utterly unsatisfactory," Carl Barry, the plaintiff's attorney, said.
Among the other protections unveiled by MySpace: Users will be able to make their profile private or choose only to have partial profiles viewed by strangers.
MySpace, FaceBook and other social-networking Web sites are moving quickly to deflect law enforcement and regulators that are breathing down their necks — even as they grapple with how to enact protections that can't be simply defeated by the next wave of technology.
"As soon as you get one thing in place, they come up with another thing around it," said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Congress is holding hearings next week, but the representatives we spoke to admit they don't know what kind of law they could write that would actually solve the problem. Most people say the ultimate answer rests with parents being aware and kids being smart.