In the aftermath of a Channel 4 investigation into pedophiles targeting young users of the virtual hangout Habbo, owner Sulake has begun a soft launch of chat services in select regions. Sulake CEO Paul Fontaine announced via the company's blog that a new and improved Habbo (with more security measures in place) has launched in Finland, Spain and Brazil – with more regions being relaunched in the next few weeks.
One of the key things users will note when logging back into Habbo is that they have to pass a "new responsible use test prior to re-entering the site." We assume this test will gauge the knowledge about safety and safe behavior in Habbo.
The new safety measures include additional tracking measures to clearly tie all virtual interactions to real user identities; more staff moderators to be present in a wider range of rooms across the site; more Guardians (a volunteer user-populated virtual police force) on patrol; limited chat that can be upgraded by earning their way to filtered chat through responsible interactions; a new chat system that alerts moderators to inappropriate content; and an emergency button that can be used to alert management when something unsafe is happening.
Sulake also said that it will be issuing a call to users and parents to apply for positions on the Advisory Summit in the coming days as well.