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Dupre’s MySpace page evolves with scandal

(CNN) — In three days Ashley Alexandra Dupre went from being an unknown 22-year-old aspiring musician to the fifth most-searched subject on Google because of her alleged sexual encounters with New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

After she was identified by The New York Times, throngs of journalists staked out her home.

At the same time, she appeared to have jumped on her MySpace page, which was identified by the Times, and a Facebook profile with the same name and photos.

It seemed she was trying to stay one step ahead of journalists, attempting to limit what information they could access.

She was seemingly aware that the press would have access to her friends and every word, photo and comment on her profiles, so she began by deleting connections between her friends on Facebook.

Facebook and MySpace have become one of the go-to background tools for journalists in the past couple of years, allowing members of the press to put a face to the subject of their story and find out more about them.

As more people make profiles on these Web sites, the information they make available is more frequently becoming public fodder.

Pictures from her apparent MySpace and Facebook profile were splashed across media Web sites — and Dupre appeared to take notice. Time stamps and activity on what appears to be her Facebook profile shows she was staying up all night cleaning up her profile and responding to critics on the Internet.

American University Law Professor Chris Simpson, an expert in Internet and privacy law, said there is no expectation of privacy when it comes to social networking Web sites.

If you post photos or comments, there is a chance your information can end up on the front page of The New York Times, although in most cases it won’t.

A week ago, only [Dupre’s] friends cared, he said. But once you put it up for the world to see, you can’t control which fraction of the world will see it.

Simpson also said while Dupre may have originally left her profiles open hoping someone would discover her music, it also left her susceptible to media scrutiny after the Spitzer scandal.

Unfortunately, you can’t say, ‘Oh well, I didn’t want that kind of publicity, I only wanted positive publicity,’ he said.

While most people may understand their profiles are subject to public viewing, Amanda Lenhart, senior research specialist for the Pew Internet and American Life Project, said focus groups have shown they generally can’t think of a scenario where their information would become so public.

Early Thursday morning, it appears Dupre realized she needed to make some changes to alter what the public would be able to know about her.

At 3 a.m., there was an entry that she had completed a thorough profile scrub, leaving only a couple of photos of herself on Facebook.

At the same time, the self-described aspiring musician left a clip of one of her songs on MySpace and frequently linked to a page where users could download it.

So does Dupre want the attention that comes along with this scandal or not?

Maybe promoting herself and her music on the Internet means she does want to make it available to everyone in a very public way, Lenhart said.

Some of her close friends made sure their feelings were known to the press, too. Some posted on her MySpace page telling her to ignore the media, that they would be there for her and reminding her to stay strong. Watch some of Dupre’s friends speak out on her behalf

But even those who weren’t close with her seemed to want in on the action. Some identifying themselves as her high school classmates created a group on Facebook devoted to those who had classes with her.

The early morning hours slipped by and Internet activity on Facebook continued until 5 a.m., when she apparently confronted the high school classmates on the group page. It seemed she believed they were trying to exploit her situation.

Do me a favor and don’t try to cash out… thanks, she wrote on the Facebook group page.

Thursday morning, the Dupre Facebook status gave the impression she wanted no part of the attention.

Sneaking out the back door, she wrote under her current status.

But as the day went on, it seemed Dupre’s feelings were changing and she might have been embracing the newfound spotlight.

The page had received more than 1,100 friend requests on Facebook. Initially, she ignored them.

By the afternoon she apparently gave in, but the feelings were short-lived.

By 2:30 p.m. the Facebook and MySpace profiles were gone.
Dupre’s MySpace page evolves with scandal – found here.

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March 14, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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