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The best user forum in travel has always battled with trolls. This time, its parent company’s own sins are forcing it to take drastic actions where some careful pruning would do.
Lonely Planet’s popular online travel forum, Thorn Tree, has been temporarily shut down by owner BBC, reportedly after the discovery of paedophilia-related posts.
A source said that BBC executives, still smarting from the Jimmy Savile scandal, went into “panic attack mode” after a disgruntled user alerted them to swearing and posts that discussed topics related to paedophilia.
The site has not officially revealed why it was necessary to close the entire forum without warning except that “a number of posts” did not conform with the site’s “standards” … Tony Wheeler, who no longer owns the publisher but contributes to it, told Fairfax that he was amazed the forum was still offline four days after the shutdown and criticised the BBC for not offering a more detailed explanation.