June 23, 2005 3:04 PM PDT

Yahoo closes chat rooms over child sex concerns

Yahoo has shut down its user-created chat rooms after a TV station reported that some of them were being used by adults to promote sex with minors.

The chat rooms were shut down in the last week, but Yahoo's other chat rooms are still up, Yahoo spokeswoman Mary Osako said Thursday.

The closed chat rooms had titles such as "Girls 13 and Under for Older Guys" and "Younger Girls for Older Guys," according to a report by KPRC-TV in Houston. Advertisers including Pepsi Cola, State Farm Insurance and Georgia-Pacific withdrew their ads after they found out their ads were appearing in the chat rooms, the TV station said.

Osako declined to confirm or deny the report, saying only that Yahoo is "working on improvements to the service to enhance the user experience and compliance with our terms of service. Yahoo condemns abuse of Internet tools and services for illegal activities."

She could not specify how many sites in total were shuttered.

Dave DeCecco, a spokesman for Pepsi Cola in Purchase, N.Y., confirmed the KPRC report.

"We were notified back in April by the Houston TV station that our ads were associated with these chat rooms. We were unaware of the situation," he said. "We worked with Yahoo to pull them right away and they did."

Pepsi is still advertising on other parts of the Yahoo Web site, DeCecco said.

Yahoo's user agreement prohibits users from harming minors in any way and from making available any content that is unlawful, obscene or objectionable.


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Its a shame
its a shame that there are people out there praying on children like that. I am a user of yahoo! chat and I like to create my own chat sessions for people who are into anime. I certainly hope that yahoo! will be able to fix this and user-created chat session can be restored soon for those people who really have some common sense. I really don't want to leave yahoo and use some other online service. I always like using yahoo's service.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I think its hillarious.

Yahoo is shutting down those chat rooms because they think there are actual children there?

Dont they know those chat rooms are run by the same people posing as the young women?

Its a scam to try to get dirty old men to part with their money under guises similar to the Nigeria scams.

And furthermore if any real young ladies show up there its because they read the rather obvious title and are looking for an older guy. If they are then they're going to find one with or without the internet.

Of course Yahoo would have to take the rooms down regardless, but I still think its rather hillarious that they fell for the same ruse that the room creators were using to make money.. by convincing people that there were really children there.
Posted by Fray9 (547 comments )
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No Great Loss
From my, all be it limited, experience of Yahoo chat the closing of rooms is nothing to cry over. On the few occasions that I ventured into them, all I found was a constant barrage of advertising for adult sites.
A cursory scan of user profiles showed that a vast amount of the chatters were obviously 'bots set up with Yahoo ID's for the simple reason of spamming the channels, much of which was for 'come watch me on cam' web sites.
My time in the Yahoo rooms left me with the impression that Yahoo were, if not supportive of this activity, not overly concerned. I know from other networks that moderation either by real users or 'bots of their own cuts the incidence of spam by a large degree.
Yahoo, pull your finger out and pay more attention to what is happening and implament what are fairly simple solutions. After all it is the Yahoo banner under which these things are occuring. Goodwill may be an intangible asset but it's one that can be damaged far easier than repaired.
Posted by j3st3r (70 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Inefficient move
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.kiruthik.com/Yahoo+Closes+User+Created+Rooms+In+Its+Chat+Service.aspx" target="_newWindow">http://www.kiruthik.com/Yahoo+Closes+User+Created+Rooms+In+Its+Chat+Service.aspx</a>
Posted by kiruthik (3 comments )
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Like they didn't know....
They knew! How could they not? I mean, some of those rooms had been there for years. And I'm sure some even dated back to when I used aol. *shutters* I'm sure they also keep detailed logs of every room ever created and all. Honestly, how could they not know?
Posted by fireball74 (80 comments )
Reply Link Flag
that's yahoo, not aol.... but still, both services probably keep detailed logs.
Posted by fireball74 (80 comments )
Link Flag
Hey guys, please go to our new chatrooms website, called e-chat.


its new, completely free and simple to use. Hope this helps thanks!
Posted by MichaelZyskowski (1 comment )
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