Does Facebook Ban Sex Offenders, and Is It Legal?
A convicted sex offender is often treated differently from other criminals.
Whereas most criminals serve their sentence and are considered rehabilitated, sex offenders carry the burden of their crime with them in many aspects of their everyday lives, sometimes until they die.
One of the restrictions they face is not being allowed to have a Facebook account. DoNotPay asks, “Does Facebook ban sex offenders?” and is a ban legal?
A sex offender is someone who has been convicted of a sexual crime. The crime can have been of different levels of severity, as follows:
|Sexual Offense Level||Explanation|
|Level or tier I||This is the lowest level of sex crimes and is usually confined to:
|Level or tier II||The next level includes crimes with older minors and includes:
|Level or tier III||The most serious crimes are classified level or tier III and include cases involving violence or pre-pubescent minors|
This is a map of convicted sex criminals' whereabouts that the public can access and includes each offender’s:
- Criminal conviction history
In some states, more detailed information is collected, and an offender must keep their full profile updated regularly to reflect any changes.
A convicted offender’s details usually stay on the registry for the following periods:
|Tier or Level||Time on Registry|
|Tier or level I||15 years|
|Tier or level II||25 years|
|Tier or level III||Until death|
Different states may have different rules about the duration of the registration. Once an offender is on their state’s registry, their profile is visible to anybody who cares to look—including social media platforms.
In 2017, the Supreme Court found that a North Carolina law prohibiting convicted sex offenders from having a Facebook or other social media account was unconstitutional.
According to the finding, banning sex offenders from using social media is an infringement of their constitutional right to free speech.
As a reaction to this, several states have enacted legislation to force sex offenders to give their social media account details to their local police. The data is not made public, so the offender’s right to freedom of speech is upheld, but the police can monitor their social media activity.
Regardless of what the law says about sex offenders on social media, Facebook is a private company and can create and enforce its own rules.
As such, Facebook does not allow convicted sex offenders to have an account. The company’s policies state that “convicted sex offenders aren’t allowed to use Facebook.” Facebook users are encouraged to report any known sex offenders to Facebook admin staff so the relevant account can be removed.
The process for reporting a convicted sex offender to Facebook is as follows:
- File a report to Facebook stating the account name of the sex offender
- Include a link to the relevant sex offender registry, a news article, or a court document proving the user’s conviction
As Facebook is a private company, this is a perfectly legal policy on their part.
Convicted sex offenders face several other restrictions for as long as they remain on their state’s registry. The restrictions vary from state to state but commonly include a:
- Ban on interstate travel
- Restriction on living in certain areas close to schools
- Limitation on the use of alcohol or drugs
- Ban on entering certain localities
Some states are more draconian than others, but many sex offenders find it difficult to:
- Rent accommodation
- Get a job
- Access credit
These difficulties can last a lifetime, so rehabilitation is effectively not considered possible for sex offenders. The danger with this system is that increasing numbers of sex offenders try to sidestep the system by remaining unregistered or letting their registration become outdated.
If you suspect that a registered sex offender may be in your neighborhood, you can search your state registry for sex offenders within a designated radius around your location.
If you are worried about a specific person, you can use the national registry to find out their current whereabouts.
The issue with both these approaches is that things can change rapidly—a sex offender could move into your building, or a rapist you know by name could relocate to your area tomorrow, and you wouldn’t know unless you search again.
DoNotPay has the solution! We can help you in your area and provide you with a weekly update on your neighborhood or a specific person’s location in a few clicks!
If you are feeling uncomfortable at the thought that you may have a sex offender in your neighborhood, DoNotPay is here to help!
With our Sex Offender Search product, you can check your area or look for a specific person—here’s how:
- in your web browser
- Click on our Sex Offender Search feature
- Choose whether you want to search for
- A particular person
- Sex offenders in your vicinity
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