herald

Sunday 20 January 2019

Bullying claims site Ask.fm is soaring

a controversial teen social media website linked to several suicides due to cyberbullying has soared in popularity here.

Ask.fm, taken over by Ask.com in August of this year, has been under scrutiny following the deaths by suicide of Ciara Pugsley (15) and Erin Gallagher (13) in 2012.

But despite the campaign, led by Erin's mother Lorraine, to have the site shut down, Ask.com has grown in popularity in the last few months.

Doug Leeds, CEO of Ask.com said that there are millions of users - and this figure is growing.

"I can tell you there are 180 million global unique users that visit Ask.fm each month," he said.

MARKET

"Ireland is still a relatively small market for us, but we've seen 30pc growth for registered users in the last year. In the last three months the average number of daily registrations is between 120,000 and 140,000," he added.

Mr Leeds said there are no plans to change its link to Facebook "at this time". But he said that the site is committing to overhauling safety.

Mr Leeds added: "The process of investing in safety has begun, with a specialist moderation team currently evaluating existing technology, policies and procedures as part of a six-month plan to overhaul the site's moderation system."

"We've hired two renowned child safety experts to lead the charge."

hnews@herald.ie

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