There have been a couple of interesting developments in social networking land lately. One demonstrates the value that these networks represent. The other highlights some complicated issues about risks associated with using social networking tools, as well as possible privacy and more general regulatory concerns.

First, the lawsuit against social networking website Facebook continues, with rival ConnectU arguing that Facebook creator and founder Mark Zuckerberg had agreed to write computer code for ConnectU, but never provided the completed code, and then created Facebook based on the same ideas. The case was scheduled for hearing today in the United States District Court in Boston.

Meanwhile, over at MySpace, it has emerged that over 29,000 registered sex offenders have profiles on the website, which is four times as many cited by the company only two months ago. (The total number of MySpace users numbers around 180 million.) The idea of registered sex offenders interacting on MySpace is of course worrying, given that your online persona may be very different from your real one. But also giving pause is the fact that MySpace was pressured to release this information in response to the demands of a group of attorneys general, as well as the fact that MySpace has already, without the involvement of government, used its own database on users to remove about 7,000 profiles of sex offenders. I do not mean to treat the issue of sex offenders lightly — but it does call into question the roles of industry, the government, and regulation in the world of social networking.