Response to the Great Unmute and a New Era of ‘Protected Democracy’ for Habbo Hotel

Thursday, Jun 21, 2012 / Writer: Paul LaFontaine, CEO

The initial response to The Great Unmute was much larger than we could have predicted and it took some time to deploy additional servers to get the site running smoothly. We received a high number of submissions over the six hour period, many of which are still being moderated. This was always intended to be a forum for legitimate users and – although we will not be moderating the main site in the same way – the blocking of inappropriate conversations is a sign of things to come for Habbo.

We are continuing to upload content and will share with the world more than 10,000 thoughtful, balanced opinions from our responsible users. My team and I are reading them all and encourage parents and anyone else involved or concerned to do the same.

The teens and young people who inhabit our site have spoken in a mature, united and compelling voice. They have articulated the practical and personal benefits of a virtual community for a demographic full of young people still discovering themselves and their place in the real world.

The content generated by The Great Unmute will inform and direct my long term plan for the Habbo community, already in advanced draft form. When I finally allow the online community to speak again, it will be an era of ‘Protected Democracy’. By that, I mean a regulated environment that protects the free speech, as well as the safety and interests, of the legitimate user community. I understand these interests better because of The Great Unmute.

Protected Democracy is a new concept that we are pioneering in a poorly regulated social gaming industry. It can only be realised through a mix of technology, moderation, education and engagement. This is a complex combination that cannot be achieved in a single step. That is why I will turn the Habbo site back on in phases, focusing on specific markets to test the new technology. Before then I will be carrying out live tests (beginning in Finland today), to ensure our new systems are delivering the improved safety levels we anticipate.

The first phases of the Great Go-Live will commence early next week. At that point I will come back again and explain how site safety has already been improved as well as our long term plans to deliver a sustainable future for this valuable and valued online global community.