Google fends off pornographic Lively rooms

Company prohibits sexually explicit content in its Lively online 3D chat sites. That's not stopping some from trying to get it there.

A decidedly tame video plays on the bottom of a pool in a Google Lively chat room called 'porn place.'
A decidedly tame video plays on the bottom of a pool in a Google Lively chat room called 'porn place.' Google

Google is having to work to try keeping its Lively online 3D virtual worlds from getting a little too lively.

Despite some injunctions to the contrary, sexual overtones are creeping into Google's cross between a chat room and Second Life.

"We've received complaints about recently created 'sex rooms' in Lively, and we take these complaints seriously," Google said on its Lively group. "Our community standards prohibit sexually explicit images and rooms intended for sexual activity, even if virtual. When we become aware of 'sex rooms' that violate or Terms of Service, we'll work to remove them."

A little snooping around revealed some evidence of borderline rooms, but nothing as risque as shows in the more permissive realm of Second Life.

"So the girls are hidden in here," griped one avatar in one room called SEXY & HOT Monday morning. "Show up," ordered another. There wasn't much in the way of naughty pictures beyond the welcome screen, but some posters in the room linked to girl.cb-w.com, a Web site that sells a guide about "How To Approach Any Woman, Anywhere And Know Exactly What To Say To Get Her To Give You Her Number And Go On A Date With You - NOW."

Another room, called porn place, seemed fairly tame--even the YouTube video playing on the bottom of the pool. Other rooms were called Sexo Virtual, sexy babes, and BDSM Espana.

Google Lively's community standards prohibit nudity and sexually 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. If we become aware of child pornography, the content will be removed and we will report it and its owners to the appropriate authorities."

Google wants to keep it clean for mainstream users, and users who violate Google's terms could find themselves banned from Lively and their Google account disabled, Google said.

"When browsing or searching for rooms, some Lively citizens come upon these rooms as the top results, which can erode their Lively experience...Lively is intended to be a place for Lively citizens to connect with each other and express themselves freely and in a safe environment," Google said.

(Via Google Blogoscoped.)

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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