April 22, 2009

Adult Content Filter To Be Introduced In Second Life

Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life, announced certain changes for the virtual world set to go into effect in June as part of a broader move to let users customize the site's content, The Associated Press reported.

The changes will move Second Life's adult-oriented content to a new, X-rated "continent" so users looking for more PG-rated experiences can be free from any obscenity.

Chief Executive Mark Kingdon said the way people use Second Life has become incredibly diverse.

Citizens of Second Life will now able to block adult content in their searches using settings similar to Google's "SafeSearch," which filters images or text by blocking Web pages with explicit sexual content.

However, the difference is Second Life will also allow users to specifically search for adult-only items exclusively, if they so choose.

Ken Dreifach, Linden's deputy counsel, said the new search tools will provide a substantial incentive for property owners"”the people who operate the virtual spaces within Second Life"”to properly designate their land by tagging adult content responsibly.

The site will now have a three-tiered rating system: PG, Mature and Adult.

Access to mature content such as R-rated movies will be immediately accessible to users who are old enough, but further verification -"” beyond self-reporting -- will be required to prove they are at least 18 before they can access adult, X-rated content.

There is also a separate teens-only site in Second Life.

Kingdon said the company didn't have statistics on how many of people use the site for adult activities, but added that it's in the minority.

He also said Linden labs would be "very careful" not to filter out terms like "breast cancer" that can accidentally get lumped into adult content.

Second Life had more than 1 million unique log-ins last month, up from 544,000 in the same month a year earlier.

However, since the virtual world's launch in 2003, social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter have overshadowed it in recent years.


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