UK retailers pull Habbo gift cards amidst media storm

UK retailers pull Habbo gift cards amidst media storm
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

June 13th 2012 at 3:09PM

'We are concerned to learn of the allegations about Habbo Hotel' says Tesco spokesperson

GAME, Tesco and WH Smith have stopped selling Habbo gift cards to customers after Channel 4 aired a documentary labelling the social network as a ‘paedophile haven’.

As reported by the media firm, Tesco stated it would no longer stock the cards, which can be used to purchase furniture to decorate rooms in the game.

A spokesperson for WH Smith said: “We were concerned to learn of the allegations about Habbo Hotel made in the Channel 4 News report. In response, we have taken this product off sale, pending further investigation.”

The channel 4 documentary, which exposed a lapse in users safety, showed report Rachel Seifert posing as a young girl on the social network, receiving explicit messages of a sexual nature during her time on the game.

Sulakee CEO Paul LaFontaine defended the company’s safety measures in light of the allegations, and said it was “doing all it can” to keep children protected.

"To keep users safe, we filter content and block inappropriate users,” he said.

"We also employ more than 225 moderators, tracking some 70 million lines of conversation globally every day on a 24/7 basis.

"We work with child safety organisations and local police forces to address inappropriate behaviour. Habbo’s leading safety systems were recognised as making the service one of the safest social networks in a 2011 European Commission report.”