Ask.fm 'will be safer from online bullying' as owners introduce new features
Website owners have introduced a range of new features that aim to keep users safer from abuse
Monday 19 August 2013
Ask.fm, the website used regularly by 14-year-old Hannah Smith before she ended her life, has announced a series of changes it will make to ensure it protects users from online bullying.
In the aftermath of the teenagers death it was discovered that Hannah had endured months of online abuse from other users of the question-and-answer site.
Ask.fm co-founders Ilja and Mark Terebin said an audit ordered in the wake of Hannah's death into the site and its safety features has now been completed. Changes set to be made will include a more prominent “report button” on the site, and more staff hired to work as moderators.
It said it would review all reports within 24 hours of them being made and will limit the number of features unregistered users are able to access. New users will have to provide an email address upon sign-up.
It will also create a separate website for parents, and will introduce incentives to encourage people to register with the site.
The website came under a flurry of controversy after it was discovered that Hannah was tormented by users over her weight and the death of a family member on the site before being found hanged in her bedroom.
Specsavers, Vodafone, Laura Ashley, EDF Energy and charity Save the Children all pulled adverts from Ask.fm, which pledged to work with Leicestershire Police concerning the death and instructed law firm Mishcon de Reya to carry out the audit of its site and safety features.
In a statement today, the site's 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.
“This audit has now been completed. Based on the findings and the recommendations that were made, we can today announce our commitment to making changes to Ask.fm's existing policies in three core areas: reporting and moderation, registration, and corporate visibility.”
Hannah's father, David Smith, has called for an immediate change in the law to protect vulnerable youngsters. He revealed today that he had forbidden Hannah from using the site, but she had carried on using it secretly despite his ban.
Mr Smith told ITV's Daybreak programme: "I had already told Hannah to stay off Ask.fm because the school actually sent a text out saying 'Keep your kids off Ask.fm'. I told her to stay off it, but with Ask.fm it's very difficult to find it on the computer anyway."
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
David Cameron explains selfie with Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela Memorial
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- 5 Australia incest case: Severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: English te...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: SEN English Teacher required to sta...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education has been asked e...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: English Teacher needed for a Januar...