News briefs:January 24, 2007

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The time is 1300 UTC, on January 24 2007, and this is Audio Wikinews Newsbriefs. (Sound Effect)

Headlines[edit]

MySpace against sex offenders[edit]

Internet meeting website MySpace will start sending online alerts to internet users in certain regions of the United States in an attempt to help find missing children. The website will cooperate with the AMBER Alert system that provides a broadcast bulletin of suspected child abduction.

Last week families of five teenagers, who were sexually abused by adult users from MySpace, sued the website stating that it showed negligence concerning protection of its users'. In 2006, the company hired a former Justice Department prosecutor in order to respond to concerns over its online safety program.

The CEO of MySpace, Hemanshu Nigam, stated that the company has been working with partners and law enforcement in order to find all the possible ways to protect children. The website now asks all its users to have a valid e-mail address to allow tracking down possible predators, and new subscribers will be required to respond to a verification e-mail.

MySpace is also developing new software allowing parents to see public information about their child that the site was given.

Microsoft offers to pay blogger to 'correct' Wikipedia article[edit]

Software giant Microsoft has attempted to pay a web log operator or "blogger" to correct a Wikipedia article concerning the Microsoft Office Open XML format. Please note that Wikipedia is also a project of the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikinews.

Doug Mahugh from Microsoft contacted Rick Jelliffe, who is the top technical officer for Sydney computing company Topologi - and offered to pay him for the time it would take to correct the article. Wikipedia strongly discourages contributors involved with the subject of an article from editing the article, when a conflict of interest is likely.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said, "We were very disappointed to hear that Microsoft was taking that approach," and stated that the proper thing for Microsoft was to air its comments on the discussion page and request someone neutral to make any appropriate changes.

The email Mahugh wrote to Jelliffe reads “Wikipedia has an entry on Open XML that has a lot of slanted language, and we'd like for them to make it more objective but we feel that it would be best if a non-Microsoft person were the source of any corrections.” The email also stated that Microsoft would not stop Jelliffe from disclosing the deal and rather encouraged him to post it on his blog at oreillynet.com. It also reassured that Microsoft did not have to approve any changes he made to the article.

Microsoft spokeswoman Catherine Brooker said she believed the articles were heavily written by people at IBM, which is a supporter of the rival ISO-approved OpenDocument standard used by leading Open Source office suites rather than the controversial Microsoft Office Open XML format.

Closing statements[edit]

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