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Sometimes chat room venues are moderated either by limiting who is allowed to speak (not common), by having comments be approved by moderators (often presented as asking questions of a guest or celebrity), or by having moderation volunteers patrol the venue watching for disruptive or otherwise undesirable behavior.
Yet, most commonly used chat rooms are not moderated and users may chat freely with the other occupants of the room.
"We regret responsible users will be affected by this move, but we looked at this very carefully and on balance to safeguard customer interests," said Mr Whittingham.
By only making instant messaging available, chatters will be able to restrict and control who they talk to because they can only chat to people on their "buddy lists".
The only chat service available to MSN users in the UK will be the free instant messaging service, MSN Messenger, which is not so open and gives people more control over who they talk to.
Chatrooms on MSN's other global sites will either be supervised - or moderated - by an adult 24 hours a day, or will be on a credit card subscription-basis only.
MSN UK's Matt Whittingham told BBC News Online it was not a decision they had taken lightly.
Generally speaking, the ability to converse with multiple people in the same conversation differentiates chat rooms from instant messaging programs, which are more typically designed for one-to-one communication.
"As a responsible leader we feel it necessary to make these changes because online chat services are increasingly being misused," it said.
Children's charities welcomed the move as "momentous" and said they saw it as a big step towards protecting young web users, but some have criticised the decision.
People have also been increasingly targeted by spammers posting hundreds of messages and inappropriate web addresses to chatrooms.
Many have been "mining" rooms for data, finding out users' e-mail addresses to build spam lists. MSN has acknowledged that some chatters will not be happy about the move.