Facebook will add more than 40 safeguards to protect young users from sexual predators and cyberbullies, attorneys general from several US states have announced.

The news follows a similar announcement from MySpace after the social networking site was involved in a sexual predator scandal last year.

The changes include banning convicted sex offenders from the site, limiting older users' ability to search online for under 18s and a task force will be created to better verify users' ages and identities.

"Social networks that encourage kids to come to their sites have a responsibility to keep those kids safe", North Carolina attorney general Roy Cooper said.

"We've now gotten the two largest social networking sites to agree to take significant steps to protect children from predators and pornography."

In addition tobacco and alcohol ads will not appear on young users' pages and groups involving incest, paedophilia and bullying will be removed.