All’s quiet on Habbo

Marc Sanchez Jun 14, 2012

Habbo is a popular game marketed to kids, where they go to the Habbo Hotel to“make friends, chillax, and get noticed.” A virtual hotel serving over 250 million minors? Why not? We’ve been trading fake farm animals on Facebook for years, so this seems “normal.” The problem here is that kids can enter rooms in the hotel and chat with other members, who are presumably other fun-loving kids. Well, they’re not all kids. Pedophiles have been found to be lurking in the halls and rooms. For now chat service has been suspended.

This isn’t new news for followers of the game. The BBC reports: “Last year, paedophile Matthew Leonard was sentenced to seven years after admitting grooming young girls he had met via Habbo.” The latest claims, however, have caused backers of Habbo’s parent company, Sulake, to pull out their investments. Some users of the game are upset and claim it was easy to spot the pervs. Presumably those users also like to play “count the cockroaches” as they go about business in their bug-infested apartments too.

As a nonprofit news organization, our future depends on listeners like you who believe in the power of public service journalism.

Your investment in Marketplace helps us remain paywall-free and ensures everyone has access to trustworthy, unbiased news and information, regardless of their ability to pay.

Donate today — in any amount — to become a Marketplace Investor. Now more than ever, your commitment makes a difference.