Yahoo shuts DIY Chatrooms over child soliciting row

A year ago, when Microsoft closed down moderated chatrooms related to MSN, the reaction was decidedly mixed. Hardly anyone showered them in praise for going out of their way to protect children, which was one reason stated by the Redmond giant. For Yahoo however, its decision to do more or less the same thing one year on has brought them a rush of positive PR.

The move, where users can no longer create their own chatrooms and give them any name of their choice (in this case, the rather blatant "Girls 13 And Under For Older Guys" and "Girls 13 And Up For Much Older Men" and listed as Educational chat rooms.) Once Houston television station KPRC reported the story and advertisers were less than pleased, it's obvious that Yahoo had to make a constructive gesture to stop the problem for now.

However, additional pressure was brought to bear by three major advertisers, the best known non-American company being drinks firm PepsiCo. "As soon as we found out we pulled our ads," said Dave DeCecco, a Pepsi spokesman. "We were totally unaware that our ads were associated with those chat rooms - And that was back in April."

In addition to whatever savings may be made by moderation cost savings, Yahoo is also hoping to stave off another lawsuit in ever-litigious America - they were sued earlier this year for $10million on an earlier occasion owning to pornagraphy trading in the Yahoo groups section of the site. Microsoft, in spite of being much maligned a year ago, must be thinking "there but for the grace of God".

Quote Source: Reuters


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