Ask.fm makes changes to safety policy

For a while now, the social media site Ask.fm has been in the news, after complaints about abuse leading to suicides. Stuff.co.nz reports that:

…it has about 65 million users.

But half of them are under 18 – meaning that the site’s active user base consists largely of children.

Part of the site’s problem is that it’s a social media site with virtually no privacy settings and no real identity controls.

Facebook, by contrast, has made efforts to ensure that a high percentage of its accounts belong to real people – and it deletes the accounts of fake users.

It also has privacy controls. You can lock down your account completely, if need be, shutting out the world.

You can’t do any of that on Ask.fm.

Now it seems that Ask.fm is in the process of changing its safety policy. TechCrunch reports

Ask.fm said today it will make the report button more visible, and will be adding a dedicated report category for ‘bullying and harassment’ — committing to making these changes next month. It also said it will increase the visibility of an (extant) option to opt-out of receiving anonymous questions to help users moderate the kind of content they receive from other users. This change will be implemented in October.

The Australian Broadcasting Commission aired this story in May about abuse on social media sites including ask.fm.