Target: Ilja Terebin, CEO of Ask.fm
Goal: Commend website for allowing users to report abuse
After the suicide of 14-year-old Hannah Smith, the question-and-answer website Ask.fm has responded to calls for reform that address online bullying. Smith had been the target of cyberbullying on Ask.fm during the months that ultimately led to her death. Now, Ask.fm will be introducing a “bullying/harrassment” button for users, as well as a commitment for the website to investigate any incidents of cyberbullying behavior within 24 hours of its report. Please commend the website for reforming how it deals with online abusive behavior.
The policy changes will affect three core areas: registration, reporting and moderation, and corporate visibility. Ask.fm will be recruiting more moderators to handle reports of bullying, in addition to making users register in order to gain full entry to the website’s features. This change of required registration will enable Ask.fm to access users’ email and IP addresses to better handle abuse investigations. The website also pledges to open a separate website to be used as a resource for parents and users and would house information on the safety, privacy, and moderation policies of Ask.fm.
Ask. fm issued a statement saying “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.” Please commend this website’s proactive stance on the prevention of cyberbullying and its commitment to fostering a safe place for users.
Dear CEO of Ask.fm Ilja Terebin,
I commend Ask.fm’s new policies that address cyberbullying. Initiatives like the button for users to report online bullying and the promise to investigate any reports of bullying within 24 hours is the needed response for the website to prevent a death like Hannah Smith’s from happening again. Please continue implementing initiatives that serve to protect users from online abusive behavior.
These new reforms target registration, corporate visibility, and reporting and moderation policies. Among these new initiatives, requiring an email verification from users will make it easier for new moderators to investigate any reported cases of abusive behavior. The new, separate informational website that will be introduced for parents and other interested users, is a welcome resource for those who have questions about these reforms to privacy, safety, and moderation. Policies like these send the message that Ask.fm will not tolerate cyberbullying.
These are steps in the right direction, and I ask that Ask.fm will continue to find new, innovative ways to foster a safe online environment for children and other users. Hopefully, more social networking sites will follow Ask.fm’s example and implement cyberbullying reforms of their own.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: ChrisAmaddeo via Wikimedia Commons