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Bucks County social networking site being sued by San Francisco

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 05 2014 05:07:57 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 05 2014 06:21:53 PM CST

Social networking site "MeetMe" bills itself as a place to meet friends, but now the Bucks County based company will meet the "city by the bay" in court.

NEW HOPE, Pa. -

Social networking site "MeetMe" bills itself as a place to meet friends, but now the Bucks County based company will meet the "city by the bay" in court.

San Francisco City Attorney David Herrera filed a lawsuit through his Consumer Protection Unit on behalf of the people of California, claiming the site illegally gives underage teens personal information and geographic location without valid consent.

"MeetMe has become a tool of choice for sexual predators to target underage victims, and the company's irresponsible privacy policies and practices are to blame for it," Herrera said in a statement.

Initially named MyYearbook, MeetMe started in 2005 and, according to the social networking site, 90 million members are logged on nationwide.

The site uses GPS to track users and give locations of other users nearby.

Children under 13 can't join and those over 18 aren't allowed to view minors' pictures and profiles.

But the suit alleges the site doesn't go far enough and allows potential predators and stalkers to view and scroll through profiles of children.

The lawsuit claims dozens of minors nationwide have been the victims of sex crimes by predators who relied on MeetMe to find their targets.

MeetMe management were not at their New Hope office, but company CEO Geoff Cook did issue a statement.

"We care deeply about the safety of all MeetMe’s users and work closely with law enforcement when appropriate to assist in their investigations,” Cook said in the statement.

The site does have links to online safety resources. However still, the company that facilitates virtual interaction has a real-life date in court.