Notice: This article talks about the censorship of offensive words in Habbo. Actual profanity and their correct spelling will be used to help convey the educational message and some people may be offended as a result of reading this article.
The word filter (often shortened to filter) in Habbo is used to censor words or phrases that may be considered offensive or threatens to reveal personal information to players. Originally, the filter was "Bobba", but has been changed to five astericks (*****). A few years later though it was discovered that BOBBA has been put back into use as the word filter.
The word filter works when a player says text that, according to a database in Habbo's servers, is considered to be offensive. This causes the text to be replaced with *****. Censorship doesn't necessarily happen with just profanity, but with e-mail addresses and other things that can reveal personal information (see "What gets censored" section).
In the days of the Old Habbo era, "bobba" was used as the filter to mask offensive language instead of *****. The name may have been envolved from the term "Hobba", a former moderation program, which came from "Habbo". Due to the growing population of Habbo, the word bobba was removed on December 2, 2010 and replaced with ***** to allow new users to easily recognize the word filter. But on September, 26th, 2012 it was discovered that BOBBA was back in use as the default word filter for Habbo.
Room Specific Filters
Owners of rooms now have the ability to add specific words to the filter. This allows users who say are constantly bullied with a word can add that word in particular to the filter. This will only work in that users room however. To access this feature just click "Settings" and then "Room Filter."
What gets censored
- Sexually explicit words, including body parts, such as penis, vagina, and its slang. This particular one is flawed because there are many words of a sexual nature that are left uncensored.
- A string of six consecutive numbers without any breaks (e.g. 123456). This is censored because it is often mistaken by Habbo to be a user's phone number.
- E-mail addresses
What doesn't get censored
- Links to websites (in an update, complete URLs of websites will be hyperlinked, allowing users to click on them; despite this, users should still exercise caution when visiting external sites.)
- Low-level profanity (e.g. damn, crap, ass)
- Low-level insults (e.g. retard, gay)
- Passwords (also see List of common scams)
- Offensive phrases or racial slurs
- Anything that reveals personal information, including full names, street addresses, school names, cities, etc.
- Offensive language that would normally be filtered intertwined with puncuation/leetspeak to avoid censorship (see section Bypassing the filter)
The filter is often criticised by many users for its lack of purpose and the fact that the filter works based on the assumption that certain words are being used in an "offensive manner" even if the rest of the conversation remains totally clean and normal.
In areas of Habbo where turning off the filter doesn't work and words are still censored (such as the discussion forums), such language would create a *****, causing any HTML tags to cancel, resulting in a corrupted post. For instance, if a user were to quote another in a forum thread, which had profanity in the post, the ***** would make the [quote][/quote] tags cancel.
Bypassing the filter
Before the option to turn off the filter was available, most people avoided getting their speech censored by placing punctuation in between the word(s), spelling them with leetspeak, or removing one or more letters from the word. On the forums, this is still widely used. Examples include "13itch", "b~itch", or "btch" for bitch, "fu(k", "f~uck", or "fk" for fuck, and "$hi7", "s~hit", or "sht" for shit. Another common method is saying each individual letter in a separate speech bubble.