Google Lively's Sex Rooms Problem

By July 15, 2008 2 comments

Less than a week after its release (our coverage), Google’s [GOOG] virtual world Lively already has a porn problem. While Lively model and original vitural world sensation Second Life is well known for its sexual activities, Lively was meant to be acceptable for users aged 13 and over. But, as of now, sex-themed rooms have been popping up all over the place. “We’ve received complaints about recently created ‘sex rooms’ in Lively, and we take these complaints seriously,” announced Lively’s help center website on July 10th. Lively’s Community Standards explicitly forbid explicit material. “We don't allow nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material. This includes making sexual advances toward other users.

We also don't allow content that drives traffic to commercial pornography sites or that promotes pedophilia, incest, or bestiality. Google has a zero-tolerance policy against child pornography.”

Lively’s help center says, “When we become aware of ‘sex rooms’ that violate or Terms of Service, we'll work to remove them. We may also disable the violator's Google Account and Lively access. Users are invited to flag content that they find offensive; if Google finds it is indeed offensive, the content will be removed.” By July 14th showed that the offending websites had been removed, at least from their room-search engine. Google seem to have caught up quickly, at least for the moment.

It’s hard to believe how unprepared Google was for this pornucopia. Especially as the application is targeting a younger audience, one would think stronger measures would have been put in place before the launch. The battle seems to be won for now, but even if in a perfect-for-Google-future the content problems are completely resolved, the ‘sex-room’ controversy, along with general beta sloppiness, has already lost some potential users.

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