Ask.fm revises safety policy after user suicide

The Report button, which Ask.fm says it will make more prominent in future.

Privacy is something millions of people hold dear, though in the UK media there has been a backlash against question-and-answer websites due to links with cyberbullying. One of the main reasons for this backlash came after the suicide of a 14-year-old girl, who had been receiving abusive messages on Ask.fm, which is based in Latvia.

Yesterday, the site's revised safety policy was picked up on by the media, with reports indicating that the policy could come into effect as soon as September. The revised policy elements, listed below, seem to have helped swing round opinions that the site should be shut down.

  • Hire more staff, including a safety officer, to moderate comments on the site
  • Create a "bullying/harassment" category for reported comments, alongside "spam or scam", "hate speech", "violence" and "pornographic content"
  • Raise the visibility of a function to opt out of receiving anonymous questions
  • Limit the number of features unregistered users were able to access, and require an email address upon sign-up for registered users

Some aspects of the policy could have been predicted easily enough, like altering the position of the Report button. As can be seen in the above picture, it is not very visible. One interesting policy change will be the addition of more staff, specifically dedicated to handling cyber-bullying.

Ask.fm is lucky, in that it was not forced into closure. Formspring.me had garnered criticism as well, though shut down earlier this year due to a 'lack of resources'. Having changed its URL, Spring.me's new appeal is that it allows users to 'share their opinion on anything'.

Source: BBC

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12 Comments

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This is sparked by a girl who was shown to have sent over 90% of the abusive messages, to herself. A waste of time perhaps

Im sorry to be the ice heart here but If a girl kills herself after being "bullied" on a website then how the hell would she cope with real stress? I may be weird but i just cannot find any sympathy with any of these on-line bullying suicide things, If it's that bad stop using the site, block people, move on...People have much worse and get through the other side.

Swiftiez said,
Good. Put these measures so nothing like that happpens again

Implying a report button has ever stopped the lulz on any site.

Trollercoaster said,

Implying a report button has ever stopped the lulz on any site.


It helps, no report button and it goes rampant, moderators can't see it all, especially on bigger sites.
I went out of line before here on Neowin and it's thanks to the report button I knew why cause it was looked into, it also helps those that don't mean to troll but it just happens occasionally (not thinking before pressing the Add Comment button )

Spring.me is fake:
1. you cant play introduction.
2. login don't work
3. no-reply from legal team what so ever
4. apps are redirected to forumspring from google play
5. my username/email/password was logged! and i have not gain access.

yes, a lot of times people who have suicidal tendencies don't show any signs......
e.g. Lee Thompson Young as a very recent and sad example.

well...... in a lot of cases the parents are the last to hear about bullying.

Kids almost never tell, until it's too late. Has nothing to do with being a bad/good parent or parenting in general. It's a sad statistic.

In cases around me where people I knew that got bullied, the parents that knew, are those parents that care for their children.
Those that get depressive and suicidal tendencies are usually from parents that don't pay much attention to their kid(s). My ex had multiple personalities and their parents did not EVER notice, was bullied and raped when younger (reason for her multiple personalities I suppose) and even when we were sitting with her parents, she wasn't herself at the time, her parents didn't notice anything cause they don't give a sh*t.