LittleGossip.com, which allowed young people especially in Britain to anonymously spread vicious rumours about their peers online, ran into a storm of criticism with teachers and charities saying it was fuelling bullying and causing misery.

The remarks surrounding the site was so great that last week, it closed down, blaming “malicious and unwanted” comments people were leaving there.

Ted Nash, the founder of the site, who describes himself as an internet entrepreneur and philanthropist, designed and launched LittleGossip in November 2010.

He said he had wanted the site, which generated 33,000 hits in its first hour online, to “become another popular social networking site for light-hearted banter as happens on the well established sites like Facebook and MySpace”.

The site was noted as a vehicle for abusive messages, including insulting remarks about alleged sexual and drug-taking activities of classmates and fellow students.

Explaining why he had withdrawn from LittleGossip, Mr Nash said: “It quickly became apparent that some of the users were abusing the site and using it for malicious purposes – something I disagreed with. It’s a sad comment on society that a well-intentioned site can be spoiled by a malicious minority who use freedom of speech for the wrong reasons.”

The teenager took the site down on November 12 – four days after its initial launch.

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