Yahoo to Shut Chat Rooms Promoting Sex With Minors

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Internet portal giant Yahoo announced today it is pulling the plug on any of its chat rooms that promote sex with minors.

“Kiddies who love sex,” “8 to 12 year-old girls who love men” and “Teen girls for fat older men” are just a few of the chat rooms to be axed.

Officials at Yahoo made the announcement after meeting with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning. During a news conference today, Spitzer said an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old girl on Yahoo! Chat recently received 35 “sexually explicit” messages in less than half-an-hour.

The decision marks the first time a large portal like Yahoo has imposed such a high-level of control over its chat rooms, and follows a decision last September by search engine MSN.com, which plans to remove all communities designated as “adult” and “mature” from its MSN Groups area by late November.

Yahoo also announced plans to create tougher restrictions on access to adult-themed chat rooms, though the company gave no indication on how it would do so.

Spitzer hinted he would be looking to other large media players in the online space to follow Yahoo’s lead.

“I don't want to generalize about other Internet providers, but we will look at them,” he said.