Minor social networking site Faceparty has deleted what it describes as "a huge number of accounts" of its users over the age of 36 in recent weeks, in a bid to cut down on sex offenders misusing the site.

"We understand that only a minority of older users are sex offenders, but you must understand that we cannot tell which," the company says in a bizarre explanation of the deletion of users’ accounts.

"New government legislation means we need to check older users on the sex offenders list," the company notice continues.

Biggest party on earth?

"This legislation is based upon checking email addresses against a government provided list. Faceparty has never insisted on validated email addresses and can therefore not participate in this new scheme."

The new legislation Faceparty refers to is not actually currently law, merely a proposal from Home Secretary Jacqui Smith for a system whereby sex offenders are required to register their email addresses with the Government.

Serious crime caused decision

"Having discussed the use of our website with the home office and the police, and further some pretty serious crimes caused by older users, we were left with no option but to terminate a huge amount of accounts, and without notice, immediately," adds the notice from Faceparty.

"Despite malicious rumours spread by a few people on the website, it is not true that we have deleted members due to 'ageism'," it added.

TechRadar has tried to contact Faceparty for comment, but they are engaged, which suggests that they are not a particularly large organisation, merely minnows swimming alongside the Facebook, MySpace and Bebo sharks in the social networking pond.