19th August 2013
The controversial website which it is claimed enables the anonymous bullying of young people – sometimes with tragic results – says it is introducing changes which will make it safer.
Ask.fm's co-founders say that an audit into the site and its safety features has now been completed and announced a number of updates which will include a more prominent 'report' button on the site, and the hiring of more employees as moderators. Ilja and Mark Terebin say that they will also create a website for parents and introduce incentives to get people to register, rather than being able to post anonymous abusive questions without any consequences.
Ask.fm has come under intense focus after 14 year-old Leicester girl Hannah Smith (shown above) hanged herself after being subject to months of online abuse. The audit was carried out by a UK law firm after a number of high-profile advertisers including Specsavers, Vodafone, Laura Ashley, EDF Energy and charity Save the Children all withdrew their advertising from the site.
In a statement earlier today the founders said: "At Ask.fm we want our users to be able to have fun, share information, make friends and express themselves freely. We also want them – particularly our younger users – to be able to do this in a safe environment. In the light of recent events highlighting the impact online bullying and harassment can have on young people, we engaged professional advisers to conduct a full and independent audit of our site and its safety features."