The original version of Disney had 200 million players, but the company decided to close it in 2017.
Those are the reasons that have led Disney to request the closing unauthorized copies of your Club Penguin game, after the BBC discovered that children were exposed to such explicit messages.
Visits to fan-led Club Penguin Online increased during the coronavirus pandemic, registering more than one million new players.
But the inappropriate messages They ran freely on the platform without any filter or moderators.
After learning of the BBC investigation, Disney said it was “appalled” by the content on the website and asked administrators to shut it down.
Otherwise, the entertainment company threatened to take legal action.
The unlicensed version of famous club penguin It was closed last Friday afternoon.
In this capture a player-penguin requests nude images from another.
A man involved in managing the website has been arrested on suspicion of possessing images indecent juvenile.
Detectives handling the case said the man, who lives in London, was released on bail pending further investigations.
Cloned fan-run page
Disney’s Club Penguin was one of the first social networks for children. It also included a game that developed on an island full of penguins.
Launched in 2005, it grew to more than 200 million players at its peak.
Although anyone could join the website, the original version did have content filters and human moderators to prevent inappropriate messages or personal information from being shared.
BBCL BBC research revealed that the game showed simulated gang rapes, as in this image.
But Disney closed the web in 2017.
Since then, Unofficial web pages were appearing that copied the original version and that were managed by fans.
These private servers were launched using a Stolen or copied source code, and any child looking for these pages can easily find them.
Club Penguin Online is the main copy unauthorized from the social network.
Its owners said its popularity had increased considerably during the coronavirus pandemic and it now has seven million registered players.
The BBC created an account for the English, Spanish and Portuguese versions of Club Penguin Online.
This is what he found:
Content filters designed to remove the Offensive language they had been disabled on several servers, allowing rude words, homophobic insults, anti-Semites and racist messages to be published.
The moderators already did not remove racist content. One player invited the BBC to his igloo, which was decorated with inappropriate content.
Players participated in “penguin e-sex”, sending and receiving sexual messages explicit.
The original Disney game prohibited sharing personal data, but players on this cloned site openly share their Snapchat, Instagram and Discord account details.
A Zoom “meeting” was also convened, in which codes and passwords were openly shared.
14-year-old BBC Kaden was shocked at what he saw on Club Penguin Online.
Although it was impossible to verify the age of the users, many told the BBC that they were teenagers and that there were also children playing.
Kaden, 14, told the BBC that there were areas of the game where it was safe to operate, but most of the players were in sections “for adults” they are unprotected.
He said that the conversations he had seen made him feel extremely uncomfortable.
“Any child can click on these sections for adults and see all these inappropriate things,” he said.
“I’ve seen people announce igloos of clubs of stripteaseI’ve seen people ask for pimps. There are many bad words and they have asked me for many crazy things. It really dissuaded me from going to these places. ”
Kaden’s father Rick told the BBC that he did not know what was going on in the game.
“I’m surprised. I thought if my son was playing on Club Penguin then i was safe“.
BBCL Players are invited to participate in the sex game.
About another Club Penguin fan that had been running for a long time, Miranda, a teenager, said the game had “gone from being familiar and fun to being monstrous.”
Club Penguin Online is the largest private website of its kind and uses the Disney brand.
A former member of the gang told the BBC that the project had generated around $ 11,000 through advertisements, while most of the staff were unpaid young volunteers.
Competition between Club Penguin Online and other unofficial versions of the game had intensified in the past six months.
The owners of the server accused each other of hacking and harassment.
One said it was a toxic community.
The Club Penguin Online volunteer says they were encouraged to carry out attacks against rival servers when they were minors.
“I discovered and published personal details [de los usuarios]such as addresses, your actual appearance, or information about your family. It carried out DDoS (a distributed denial of service attack) on other users and threatened people, ”he said.
“What I did was similar to what happened to me, which affected my entire family, but now I feel very bad about that ”.
BBCI bullying and annoying conversations could also be seen in the game.
A current Club Penguin Online staff member denied that volunteers were encouraged to carry out this type of activity.
Some players think that the toxic culture that exists in some These fan-managed servers is a larger problem that should be discussed.
Video game youtuber Simi Adeshina, known online as Tamago2474, said: “These games on private servers are being managed by people who are not really qualified to do so.”
“It is good to have a community that you have built, but when you get to a certain size you have to have a degree of professionalism“He added.
Cease and close
Disney has issued notices of Copyright for all private server games, giving them a deadline to close or face legal action.
In a statement, he said: “The safety of children is a priority for the Walt Disney Company and we are appalled at the allegations by criminal activity and abhorrent behavior on this unauthorized website that you are illegally using the Club Penguin brand and characters for your own purposes. ”
“We will continue to enforce our rights against this and other unauthorized uses of the Club Penguin game ”.