Playfish disables Pet Society feature amidst child safety concerns

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Pet Society Go to profileWhile Playfish has been publicly silent over the arguable child safety concerns uncovered earlier this month in Pet Society, it was swift in addressing those concerns. Some time between that report and today, Playfish has quietly removed all signs of the game's 'Go to profile' feature.

For those unfamiliar with this feature, it was basically a link that appeared on the left side of your screen that allowed you to visit the real world Facebook profile of another player. The link would appear on the homes of pets that signed up to be viewable in the Pet Society Cafe, a virtual in-game hangout that allowed players to showcase their virtual pets and homes to people they didn't know on Facebook. Normally, you can only interact with players who already have Pet Society installed and are friends with you on Facebook.

Hence, the point of this feature was to make adding new Pet Society players as friends through Facebook a lot easier. Because Facebook games desire virality, many games will reward players for having lots of friends and tasks are also designed to be easier with the more friends you have. That said, the awesome connectivity of Facebook and other social networks can sometimes lead to wonderful, happy endings.
Pet Society Anonymous
But we all know children play many of these games, so the possibility of child predation in Pet Society became a concern with the existence of this feature. There was also no way to disable it or limit its use by age. Here's a review covering the feature's original launch by Pet Society Anonymous -- it's worth noting that the 'Go to profile' feature has been around for a little over two years without any complaints before Charles Conway came along to point it out.

Regardless, the review mentioned above shows that players had reservations from the beginning regarding the feature if not for children's safety, then just general privacy's sake. There's no word yet if Playfish has taken down the feature for good or if they're tweaking it to make it safer. We've contacted Playfish for comment.

[Image Credit: Pet Society Anonymous]

[Hat-tip: Scam Detectives]

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