As we reported earlier, teen social site Habbo is attempting to handle some very delicate, and serious, issues right now.
Channel 4 issued a statement earlier on an expose that it was planning to broadcast:
A Channel 4 News investigation has uncovered shocking lapses in the moderation of a hugely popular online game used by young teenagers, including interactions of an explicit sexual nature.
In response to this, Habbo has lost one of its investors, European VC firm Balderton Capital, forcing the CEO of Sulake, the company behind Habbo, to make a statement about what is happening right under its noses:
Habbo has a strong record in this area with industry commendations and deep experience actively preventing potentially damaging content. Since hearing about the report I have asked my team to tighten security across the site and to strengthen the user rules even further.
The company has taken a drastic action, deciding to “mute” the entire site during its investigation:
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.
— Habbo (@Habbo) June 12, 2012
Habbos I am saddened but believe it is right to mute all while we continue to investigate. I’ll be sure to update you when I can. #Habbo
— Paul LaFontaine (@PaulLaFo) June 12, 2012
Since I’m not a Habbo user, I had to do a bit of digging to find out what a “mute” entails exactly, and found what I was looking for on a Habbo Wikia page:
A mute is a form of punishment set by Habbo moderators. Mutes occur when a player has said something which a moderator considers offensive with a structure policy of Habbo provided. They can be automaticlly issued, following a list of offensive phrases and keywords that triggers the Habbo muting system. Mutes are generally 10 minutes, during that time the player cannot speak.
In essence, the service is completely locked down, not allowing its players to talk to one another, which is the main focus of the site.
We’ll keep an eye out for more developments, but after checking Twitter, it seems like the mute is still in place.
Image credit: Jason Tester