A Channel 4 News producer posing as a 13-year-old was asked to strip in front of a webcam "within two minutes" of logging in.Source
Habbo Hotel last night told its 250 million users, known as “Habbos”, it had decided to “mute” the network in response to the allegations.
“Habbos, due to the challenging behavior of a few users we have decided to mute the site and will update you when we have more information,” it said via Twitter.
It followed the decision by venture capital firm Balderton to offload its stake in Sulake, the Finnish firm behind Habbo Hotel, after learning of the allegations.
Despite the “very sexual, perverse, violent, pornographic” conversations uncovered, some users attacked Channel 4 News. Oliver King, its programme editor, was bombarded with abusive messages on Twitter from irate Habbos after conversations were shut down on the network.
“Being trolled by idiots for retweeting about a brilliant C4 News investigation I didn’t write/report about how Habbo site is unsafe for kids,” he wrote.
Mr King was accused of having “ruined a day for more than two million people” and told he “should be arrested” over the report. Other Habbos acknowledged that moderation systems on the network meant to stop paedophiles and other unwanted users were inadequate, however.
Rachel Seifert, the Channel 4 news producer who spent two months on habbo hotel for the investigation said she had found chat that was “very sexual, perverse, violent, pornographic, overtly sexual acts, people saying they were going to do things to others, and it was very graphic”.
Paul La Fontaine, the chief executive of Sulake, said he would tighten moderation but retweeted messages dismissing the Channel 4 News report as "rubbish", "bias" and "exaggerated".
“Habbo has a strong record in this area with industry commendations and deep experience actively preventing potentially damaging content,” he said.
“I want to take this opportunity to assure our site users that I will be working with my team globally to deliver improved safety levels across the community.”
Habbo Hotel is aimed at children over 13. It has its own currency, discussion forums and interest groups, as well as chat facilities.
(posted in the style of ecosse because, well...)