Luucaz | 13-06-2012, 19.29 Unfortunate timing

Channel 4's Rachel Seifert checks into Habbo Hotel and finds what she comes looking for, cyber-sex and pedophiles. Gosh, surprise. Take any online community, take MSN, and realize anything the real world has will be there. Also, I'm surprised anyone is surprised kids and teens are very curious and will try to experiment about/with sexuality. At least this environment has some control. I'm very much reminded by these so called news reporting programs in my country (Holland, but I guess it's global) that target segments of our society sorta randomly. This month, our care for the elderly is targeted, next month it's the police, after that the military, then we'll get to hospital care. Find some weaknesses, expose, and insult the thousands of people working there doing a great job. See, I'm such a great journalist..

Timing is unfortunate, as Sulake previously tried cutting some expenses by outsourcing moderation. It didn't work and they realized, specifically new CEO Paul LaFontaine, and work's being put into optimizing Madrid based user care center (started months ago). Now, I'm still a bit skeptic on how that's gonna work as compared to our previous local moderators (they couldn't keep the real world out either, one just can't), but the attempt is there, security has its focus, always had (Sulake actively sought contact with police, for instance), but being worked at as we speak. Result, hotels muted/silenced, companies removing their involvement with Sulake. Or, this is just plain damaging to a company that has no evil heart, and in its core provides entertainment for kids (for a mostly small price, hey).

ANYWHERE one goes on the internet there's good, and bad. Since this is a commercial environment, the company, Sulake, needs to moderate/try to keep the bad from really happening. They do. Of more importance, kids need some guidance to be on the internet as a whole maybe? And even if not available (the guidance), them kids are growing up there, and train themselves. Mostly. So there needs to be help available, always. This 'attack', though, is greatly unjustified, just finds what it wants to find.

Disclaimer: I'm an adult, been toying around in Habbo Hotel since 2005, mostly (lego)building some rooms. The chat I've found is mostly about obtaining virtual furniture (some begging there, part of the game), meeting my nephews, games, chat. Because that's what I wanted it to be. I'll just state Channel 4 does not seem to realize them kids are more streetwise on the internet than they are themselves. It's the excesses that DO need attention, and it's a bit of a shame there's no attention for the effort the company is making there.

14 Jun. 2012, 03:53 trendynet wrote:  

I have a number of questions about that Channel 4 news. Did they read the rules before signing up, clearing stating that you have to be 13+? When they first signed up, did they turn off the filtering service to see the inappropriate content that was being said? Did they purposely look at an inappropriate room to visit when looking for rooms with inappropriate content? Did they try the help system out? Is channel 4 aware that Rebecca Newton is a former Habbo UK hotel manager and was in charge of moderation at Sulake in the past? She claims it was her first time going into Habbo, however I believe she has been in there millions of times. In one interview, an individual was slamming the Habbo Helpers program. He should of done his research and realised that members of the Habbo Helper program are not members of staff and do not have controls like mods do, and don't answer questions about inappropriate content. When they were demonstrating about going to an inappropriate room and having a chat with an individual called Dirtyboii, did they report the user to the mod? By the looks of the video, they purposely continued to talk to this individual.

I understand that there are a small group of users that are involved in these inappropriate discussions however, if you go to 99% of the rooms on Habbo you will not find this. From the looks of the video, they seem to have gone to all the strip clubs, and other inappropriate clubs.

14 Jun. 2012, 08:41 Luucaz wrote:  

Oh, hadn't seen the part with Newton yet... that's a pretty low thing to do, miss (moshi) monster. Is this a planned attack by (a) competitor(s), teaming up with hype-hungry news channel, one wonders. Hrm, figured I'd read a bit on becs' twitter. Sickening (and I mean really, sickening, she twists the facts), she knows better but has some grudge on the company I guess and feels it's time to hit back or whatever.

Edit: and now I'm even more pissed. This is said Feb. 1 2010 (found on HabbFever forum), what changed ?!

14 Jun. 2012, 11:49 WicCaesar wrote:  

Bad journalism, I'd say. Sulake deserved a wake up slap, but they reacted the worst way possible!
It may be the end of Habbo but it's not the end of pedophilia.

14 Jun. 2012, 13:06 Laurensh1 wrote:  

Clearly an evil backstab by Becs I see. Interesting. Love the drama.

14 Jun. 2012, 14:40 Star-Fighter wrote:  

I never thought this would go this far, it seems to be all over the place. While I do (or did?) admire how Sulake handled things, now it doesn't seem so professional. I don't think muting the hotels and staying quiet (except for a few tweets) is the best way to counter this. On the other hand, the Channel 4 article and presentation was waaay overreacting - shame to see it affecting co-operation in a negative way and a big sorry for it giving Habbo a bad reputation, which seems to be hard (impossible?) to get back to where it was. I do think this will all turn out okay in the end, but major updates have to be done to first solidify what's going inside Habbo and then to refresh the air outside of it.

Of course I'm rooting for Habbo and Sulake, don't want them to crash, and yes this whole thing has gotten way out of hands and I hate the way Habbo was labeled as something extremely bad... but if something good has to be found, it indeed is the so-called "wake up call" for Sulake.

14 Jun. 2012, 17:58 Luucaz wrote:  

Something that made me smile, a comment on Techcrunch: "With a disturbing scandal, they gained 13% of their company back?" (about Balderton investor bailing out. With 3i also doing that, that would be 29% ;).

14 Jun. 2012, 18:06 cjames wrote:  

This is a really cruel attack ny Becs - but Channel 4 is a OTT news channel, BBC, ITV and Sky are the real news networks in the UK.

However - Sulake do deserve this wake up call, they jumped into outsourcing moderation pretty quickly. Bad idea, Local Moderation worked well... but Habbo's pretty big now - I think it's really important for Sulake to moderate Habbo themselves, and have a bigger push on moderation - a team of local mods + a central hub?

As a compnay though Sulake should be prepared for bad press, and the way it's dealing with bad press is pretty.. bad. I walked into my local WHSmiths today as a woman pulled down a wall of Habbo cards, kinda crazy seeing this little social world no one knew about when I was a teen being slated by the world media.

Let's see how things develop.. as whatever Sulake does now - the world is watching, or so it must seem.

15 Jun. 2012, 06:15 Lab-Rat wrote:  

I know that they went looking for these rooms and that most of the users don't do that type of stuff, but still, should this sort of stuff be happening anyway?

Your words:  

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