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Ask.fm Keeping Anon Feature Despite Deaths
By: Jessica Cherok
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Part of Ask.fm’s appeal is its user anonymity. But that anonymity has recently come under fire by those who claim it makes it easier for cyberbullying. Despite a handful of deaths linked to bullying on the Ask.fm site, the site’s director defends their choice.

Ask.fm’s director told BBC News that the site didn’t go far enough following the death of 14-year-old Hannah Smith. The UK teen reportedly committed suicide after receiving bullying posts and comments on the site. In response, Ask.fm promised to be more proactive in protecting the safety of its users while still keeping their anonymity. Many of Ask.fm’s users are teens and young adults who find the anonymous feature appealing.

Ask.fm says it’s working on features to make sure its users are safe, but has no plans to change the anonymity features like some have called for. The site does now allow users to disable anonymous questions and hired a safety officer. They also developed a specific reporting category just for bullying. Should Ask.fm users find themselves being bullied on the site, they can now report the issue and block the offending party.

Still, many don’t feel Ask.fm has gone far enough to protect against cyberbullying. Considering the site has been linked to several other suicides in the United Kingdom alone, perhaps more should be done.

   

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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