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back to article Another investor pulls out of Habbo Hotel after grooming claims

Investors are pulling out of Finnish social networking firm Sulake and its teen-aimed website Habbo Hotel after revelations that Habbo was hosting illicit content. Private equity firm 3i announced today that it had left Sulake's board and was ditching its 16 per cent stake in Habbo Hotel, a social gaming network and online …

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Stop

Pool's Closed

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Coffee/keyboard

Keyboard/Tea interfacing

You owe me a new one!

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Anonymous Coward

Due to an outbreak of AIDS caused by crowds of afro-haired suit-wearing black men, if 4chan is to be believed.

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Anonymous Coward

'Focused on safety of our users': Shurely not all of them

Its spelt surely not shurely.

If you can't use basic english than why do you have a job in writing?

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Headmaster

"Its spelt surely not shurely."

Unless you are riffing on Private Eye, where "shurely some mistake?" is one of their catchphrases.

By the way, thanks for remembering to include the ironic spelling mistake that is obligatory in any grammar-Nazism post. (It's spelt "it's", not "its".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Its spelt surely not shurely."

>.>

I was testing you. Congratulations, you passed.

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Headmaster

Re: "Its spelt surely not shurely."

I do believe you have forgotten to close your parenthesis Sir.

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Headmaster

Re: "Its spelt surely not shurely."

A fine effort, sir, but I fear your orthography is inaccurate - the word you were hunting for is 'parentheses.'

If you'd be so kind as to pass me my overcoat, please.

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Headmaster

Re: "Its spelt surely not shurely."

But if you only have the one bracket showing, shurely it would be singular.

Parentheses (/pəˈrɛnθɨsiːz/) (singular, parenthesis (/pəˈrɛnθɨsɨs/))

I will retain your overcoat for now, sir.

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Headmaster

Re: "Its spelt surely not shurely."

"(It's spelt "it's", not "its"."

and it's "then", not "than"

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Headmaster

Re: "Its spelt surely not shurely."

Indeed you are correct in that a lone bracket is a parenthesis. But, I put it to you, how can one close a single parenthesis?

If you had opined that the poster was "missing a parenthesis," then I would certainly have been the mistaken party in this debate, yet your claim that "you have forgotten to close your parenthesis" suggests you are talking about the twin-brackets which make up a singular unit of parentheses.

I ask you one more time, sir, for my overcoat.

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Headmaster

Re: "Its spelt surely not shurely."

An inspired argument, sir. However, would a parentheses not be required contain both an opening parenthesis and a subsequent closing one?

I therefore maintain that the poster has neglected to close his (opening) parenthesis.

On a side note you may be able to answer a grammar-Nazi question that has vexed me for some time.

Do you happen to know the plural of chaos? It is the only noun for which I cannot find a plural

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Happy

Re: The plural of 'chaos'

Is 'Internets'

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Silver badge

Re: The plural of 'chaos'

Chaos is a state/condition and is not countable, hence it has no plural. Consider 'happiness', 'loneliness', etc.

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Plural of chaos

Is chaoses.

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Headmaster

Re: "Its spelt surely not shurely."

"...a parentheses...."

Keep digging, we can still see your head.

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Pint

Re: "Its spelt surely not shurely."

there are times when I wonder why I bother with ElReg's comments pages. Then something like this thread comes along and I remember. Thanks all - except for the OP who completely missed the point - to you, I say "raise your game" or leave for good.

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Thumb Down

Re: 'Focused on safety of our users': Shurely not all of them

"English" should begin with a capital letter.

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FAIL

Re: 'Focused on safety of our users': Shurely not all of them

Fucking hell. Does the name "Sean Connery" mean anything to you?

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Black Helicopters

"Does the name "Sean Connery" mean anything to you?"

No, but the name Jamesh Bond does!

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Headmaster

Shurely...

you cannot have forgotten sheep, deer and many others that do not have a plural form.

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FAIL

huh?

So let's get this right; there's a website which allows kids to meet strangers in private virtual rooms with webcams. I mean, what-could-possibly-go-wrong! <smacks forehead>

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Bronze badge

Re: huh?

Remember that it is for over-13s (there is a US federal law which uses that age limit), and international. Neither US nor UK thinking on age limits for sex are universal.

I'm one of those rare people who can remember being a teenager. No, we were not innocent. Perhaps more relevant, we were prone to lies and boasts about such things. It's as predictable as the reactions of social workers and politicians.

Children are not safe around children. No surprises there.

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Re: huh?

I think you will find that no teenagers think about sex until they are 18 - even the ones who get marries at 16. Similarly no Americans think about alcohol until they are 21.

Anything else is the internet warping their tiny fragile minds....

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Anonymous Coward

One more time...

I have had to say this to so many of my friends with children recently, it's getting silly. I've said it on here before as well, but here it is again:

THE INTERNET IS NOT A PLAYGROUND FOR CHILDREN. IT IS NOT A SAFE PLACE TO LET YOUR CHILDREN EXPLORE ON THEIR OWN. IT IS NOT YOUR BABYSITTER. SUPERVISE YOUR OFFSPRING WHENEVER THEY USE AN INTERNET CONNECTED DEVICE.

That all said, the idea of sites for kids is nice, but as always with these things, it's ruined by arseholes.

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Re: One more time...

You are 100% right, but would you believe that even Governments don't get this?

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Re: One more time...

I believe in explain and trust rather than tether and oppress.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One more time...

"I believe in explain and trust rather than tether and oppress."

Whilst I agree with the sentiment, it's not my own children I don't trust. However, even the most sensible and level-headed of people (yes, I'm including adults here as well) can be coerced in to doing something silly and even potentially dangerous.

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Thumb Down

Re: One more time...

and your point is what exactly? It would appear this is a moderated site targeted at children between the ages of 13 - 18, surely the moderators should have stopped much of the 'grooming' activity. Assuming the reports on the news are correct the investors are quite sensibly removing their investment as this site appears to be a major conduit for grooming of minors.

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Re: One more time...

>Whilst I agree with the sentiment, it's not my own children I don't trust

But you should be able to trust your children to tell you when something is not quite right. This way they will turn into adults who won't be coerced into doing something silly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One more time...

"But you should be able to trust your children to tell you when something is not quite right. This way they will turn into adults who won't be coerced into doing something silly."

Yes, just like we expect sensible adults to report to their bank / police when they have their personal information stolen by scammers, or hand it over voluntarily to phishers. Turns out they don't always do that. Who knew?

Oh yeah, everybody.

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Re: One more time...

Sadly these will be the people who applaud the Government for bringing in legislation to treat EVERYONE like children and log internet activity more and more.

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Re: One more time...

The company claims the site is moderated, but Channel 4 found that there were places on it called 'naughty nightclub' and 'sexy stripclub' - but this isn't picked up by their software or bods?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One more time...

Habbo hotel is a massive trolling ground for the denizens of [Ebaum's World] and it's associated perverts. It's been that way for years. Clearly channel 4 didn't investigate all that thoroughly.

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Anonymous Coward

Children over 13, same as facebook.

All of my younger relatives have had facebook accounts for several years now and none of them are near 13, all their friends use it too.

One of them setup a new account for her pet dog and proceeded to start sending out friend requests from this dog.

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As per usual

The normal line of blame the website, how about the lazy parents actually monitor what their children are doing. As a responsible parent you would then be able to hit that report inappropriate content button straight away rather than expecting the system to try and spot it.

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Thumb Down

Re: As per usual

and yet the web site promoted themselves moderated, and 'safe' for use by children between 13 - 18.

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Re: As per usual

Hardly gonna market themselves as not safe, but again as a parent my definition of safe and there's differ very widely I should imagine. It still comes down to parents, my daughters is old enough for a faceb account according to their terms and conditions, she isn't old enough for one by mine and when she does get one until she is 16 she wont be using it unsupervised.

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Facepalm

Re: As per usual

So how do you know that the very moment she turns 16 she'll be responsible enough?

You should totally patent and sell your technique - it would make you a fortune.

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Re: As per usual

its more a case of when she's 16 she wont be my problem lol....

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M7S
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Just a thought

but if these investors are selling due to moral outrage, who do they expect to buy the stake?

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Joke

Re: Just a thought

"if these investors are selling due to moral outrage, who do they expect to buy the stake?"

Paedophiles.

And, possibly, terrorists.

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Trollface

Re: Just a thought

Actually, I can just see 4chan taking up a collection and buying a stake in Habbo "for the lulz".

Troll icon, because 4chan.

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Childcatcher

Political capital gained from ditching stake is worth it

Moral outrage = good maket perception

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WTF?

'Pulling out'

So 3i and Balderton give up their seats on the board, fair enough, but how do they 'pull out' their ownership of the company? Do they write off the investment and just give up their stock, or can they force Sulake to somehow buy back their shares?

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Re: 'Pulling out'

It does seem a bit dodgy really pulling out when the problem has been found and effectively losing your voice on the board.

Question is which would a company prefer being remembered for pulling out and washing their hands of a scandal or staying on board and getting to grips with it.

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Paris Hilton

Re: 'Pulling out'

I really wish teenagers would learn to "pull out".

Paris.. because well she isn't even fertile any longer.. is she? What an example

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Re: 'Pulling out'

well it just could be they invested because company honchos & servers knew the backstory & supported the whole enchilada -- except when it hit the paper plate (media).

as an aside, don't think the pedo coach Sandusky at Penn State is the whole enchilada either...just part of the rotting ingredients.

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Anonymous Coward

I used Habbo years ago, sounds like nothings changed.

The thing is though, they posed as a 13 year old girl, right? Now I know everyone wants to view the world through rose tinted glasses, but I can’t imagine any other responses from a 13 year old boy that wouldn’t be “sexual and vulgar”. What do they expect from putting a bunch of teenagers together?

Sure, there’s paedophiles. There’s paedophiles everywhere on the internet. But kids are told time and time again about the whole talking to strangers business and meeting people off the internet. Does it stop them? No. Did it stop them kids getting killed from meeting people they met on Facebook? No.

I mean, shit, maybe it’s not necessarily a problem with the service and its moderation. From what I remember, the reporting system on Habbo was actually one of the best I’ve seen (Sulake didn’t take kindly to the “scripting” scene) – easy for kids to use and every “Call for Help” (as they call it) was responded to within minutes. Clear instructions provided for what to do if someone engaged in this behaviour with you.

If kids aren’t using the tools given to them, or acting on the knowledge drilled into them in school, then maybe that’s a failure that should be pointed somewhere else.

Kinda feel bad for Sulake. Habbo was probably been hemorrhaging users for a while. This’ll probably be one of the final nails in the coffin.

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Angel

"Private equity firm 3i announced today that it had left Sulake's board and was ditching its 16 per cent stake in Habbo Hotel, stating that they felt that the only responsible action to take when discovering 13 year old kids surrounded by peadophiles was to run away as fast as they could."

There, fixed that for their press department.

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