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[Slashdot] - Disney Forces Explicit Club Penguin Clones Offline

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"Disney has ordered unauthorized copies of its Club Penguin game to close, after the BBC found children were being exposed to explicit messages," the British publication reports. The social network was shut down by Disney in 2017, causing unofficial clones of the website to launch on private servers using stolen or copied source code. The BBC reports: Visits to fan-run Club Penguin Online (the largest of the social network's unofficial clones) surged during the coronavirus pandemic with more than a million new players. But racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic and sexual messages flow freely on the unauthorized platform. Disney said it was "appalled" by the website, and has ordered it to close or face legal action. Club Penguin Online appeared to go offline on Friday afternoon. One man involved in the site has been arrested on suspicion of possessing child abuse images. Detectives say the man from London has been released on bail pending further inquiries. The BBC set up an account on the English, Spanish and Portuguese versions of Club Penguin Online. It found: content filters designed to remove offensive language had been disabled on several servers, allowing swear words, homophobic slurs, anti-Semitism and racist messages to be posted publicly; moderators were no longer removing racist content; and players were engaging in "penguin e-sex," sending and receiving explicit messages. Disney's original game banned the sharing of personal details, but players on this cloned site are openly sharing Snapchat, Instagram and Discord account details. A Zoom "meet-up" was also advertised and codes and passwords shared openly. Although it is impossible to verify the age of users, many told the BBC they were teenagers, and there were children playing, too.

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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