MySpace taps security exec

Netco hires Microsoft's Nigam to oversee user safety

NEW YORK — Facing an outcry over child-predator concerns, News Corp. has hired a Microsoft exec to oversee security at subsid MySpace.

Company has brought on Hemanshu Nigam, who heads up security along with what Microsoft labels “child-safe computing,” to oversee its own efforts.

It was not clear late Tuesday what rules Nigam would implement, but experts expect tighter controls on the site even as they acknowledge full screening is impossible.

MySpace has become hugely popular with teens — so popular that it has now caught the attention of alleged predators.

While the actual number of incidents has not been determined, the story has become an increased focus of the media; online predators are the subject of an extensive investigation by NBC’s “Dateline” and other programs.

And as the attorney general in Connecticut and others have said they will investigate the site, the story has become a PR headache for News Corp.

Rupert Murdoch and other News Corp. execs have in the past said they would address the concern in more concrete ways.

Unless major changes are made to the site’s operations, the hiring is unlikely to affect MySpace’s popularity. Currently members exceed 60 million, and that number continues to grow by the hundreds of thousands each day.

On Tuesday, MySpace also announced it would launch a campaign with the Ad Council and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, with spots running on Fox and via other News Corp. venues.

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