Unmoderated free chat sites
An online dating service is a company that provides specific mechanisms (generally websites or applications) for online dating through the use of Internet-connected personal computers or mobile devices.Such companies offer a wide variety of unmoderated matchmaking services, most of which are profile-based."As a responsible leader we feel it necessary to make these changes because online chat services are increasingly being misused," it said.Children's charities welcomed the move as "momentous" and said they saw it as a big step towards protecting young web users, but some have criticised the decision.In the United States, Canada and Japan, Microsoft will introduce an unsupervised chat service solely for subscribers, who are considered more accountable because their billing details and identities are on record with the company.The decision has triggered a heated debate among free speech advocates, children's rights groups and Microsoft rivals about the proper way to police online forums, which predate the Web itself and have been critical to the Internet's growth as a mass medium."It's a signal that some of the joyful early days of the Internet have moved on a bit.
Most services also encourage members to add photos or videos to their profile.In those regions, said Microsoft, the chat is free and unsupervised, giving rise to a nefarious element that bombards users with spam, much of which is pornographic.In some cases, the chat rooms allowed pedophiles to prey on children.Mr Whittingham said all net services offering chatrooms should continue to look at how they can safeguard everyone on the internet, ensuring young people and parents stick to common sense advice.This means never giving out personal information online, and never arranging to see someone they have met online in the real world."We have seen cases where under-16s have been approached by people pretending to be same age, but who are grown adults trying to solicit young people for abusive contact," Mr Whittingham explained.He added that, although most messages in chatrooms were not inappropriate, a "small minority" had spoilt chat for people of all ages.Microsoft competes with AOL Time Warner's Internet unit and Yahoo in the hotly contested instant-messaging market. Some applauded the move, saying other Internet companies should follow Microsoft's lead in pulling the plug on unsupervised, anonymous chat areas.Proponents pointed to the highly publicized crackdown on online pedophilia rings as proof such measures are necessary."The rate and pace at which bad things are happening to kids because of the Internet has just stepped up in the past 12 months.You just can't ignore that," said John Carr, Internet adviser to the UK-based children's charity NCH. History shows that shutting things down just displaces the activities elsewhere, which is far more dangerous," she added.But free speech advocates, industry rivals and even some children's rights groups questioned whether this would drive the darker elements of online chat underground."I think chat rooms function in the way a youth club functioned for us back in the '60s," said Terri Dowty, a policy adviser for watchdog group the Children's Rights Alliance for England."Naturally, children want to meet each other. Rivals, including AOL, Yahoo and British Internet service provider Freeserve, said the Microsoft move would not make them rethink their chat policies."Chat is one of the most popular tools on the Internet and it's not going to go away," a spokeswoman for Freeserve said.