Habbo Hotel is gradually restoring chat to its tween-oriented virtual world, capabilities parent company Sulake had silenced following an exposé that labeled the service a “pedophile’s haven.”
Habbo has members in over 150 countries, and there are 11 different language versions. The Great Go-Live, as Sulake has named the restoration of services, is beginning in the company’s home country of Finland and will then roll out once new safety measures are shown to be working properly.
In one of these safety measures, future new users will find their conversation limited to a previously approved selection of “safe” words until they prove they are engaging with Habbo in a responsible way.
Established users will find Habbo is evolving into what CEO Paul LaFontaine is calling Protected Democracy. He defined the somewhat Orwellian term in a blog post: “By that, I mean a regulated environment that protects the free speech, as well as the safety and interests, of the legitimate user community.”
He also thanked players and parents for their patience and comments throughout the process. “Together we are going to change the culture of the site and chase irresponsible users from the service,” LaFontaine wrote.
Sulake – corporate site
Habbo blog – Paul Updates On Limited Chat
Game Politics – Habbo Owners Detail Major Changes to Virtual World
BBC News – Habbo Hotel to turn back on ‘in phases’