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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A North Carolina appeals court panel says the state's requirement barring registered sex offenders from commercial social networking sites like Facebook is unconstitutional because it's vague and violates free speech.

A three-judge panel of the state court said Tuesday the 2008 law is too broad by denying the convicts the right to participate in a wide range of communications. The judges say the law is not narrowly written to prevent registered sex offenders from having contact with children.

The ruling came when the judges overturned the conviction of a Durham County man on the sex offender list. Authorities said he had created a Facebook profile page.

State attorneys could appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court, but justices are not obligated to hear the case.

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