Little Gossip website closes due to 'unwanted comments'

14/02/11

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A website used by school pupils to anonymously gossip about people they know has been closed by its owners due to "malicious comments".

Little Gossip, which let users anonymously talk about others, was mainly popular with students.

It had been criticised by an anti-bullying charity in February for failing to remove schools from its list of places people can gossip about.

In a statement, the owners stressed it was their decision to close the site.

"Voice without ownership means that a person's worst side can surface," the statement said.

'Our decision'

"Despite taking extensive measures to prevent malicious and unwanted comments a minority of irresponsible people have continued to abuse the site," it continued.

The statement described the abusive posts as "something that we can not support".

A minority of irresponsible people have continued to abuse the site, something we can not support.
Little Gossip owners' statement

"We have not been forced, it is solely our decision to shut down," it concluded.

Little Gossip was started in November 2010 by 19-year-old Ted Nash from Cheddon Fitzpaine near Taunton in Somerset.

However, he sold it on after just four days.

He told Newsbeat the volume of malicious comments was too high to manage.

"There were some racist comments and some quite bad abuse going up there.

"But it was 1 in 10 gossips that came through that I thought were quite malicious," he said.

"When you get 33,000 hits in the first hour, and over the next few days it goes up to a million, 10 per cent is quite a big number," he added.

"It was really difficult to keep on top of all of it.

'Reasonable measures'

"Somebody said they'd take it off my hands for a very nominal fee and I was happy to let it go - I didn't even cover my startup costs.

"I guess now that they've taken it down none of it really worked out for them," he added.

The site continued to cause controversy after Nash sold it, and in December the new owners promised to stop allowing people to gossip about schools.

But in early February the Beat Bullying charity claimed the site had broken that promise, with Newsbeat finding 78 schools were still listed on the site at that time.

Mr Nash said he had been "naive" when he set up the site, adding: "I did put in reasonable measures to stop people abusing it, but people find a way around it."