Ask.fm announces changes

The co-founder of social networking site Ask.fm told ITV News he believes David Cameron "did not have all the information about the case" when he urged parents to boycott "vile sites" following the death of cyberbullying victim Hannah Smith.

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Website linked to teenage suicide announce safety improvements, full report

The owners of a social networking website linked to the suicide of a Leicestershire teenager have announced safety improvements following her death.

It is claimed 14-year-old Hannah Smith, from Lutterworth, took her own life after receiving anonymous abuse through the site.

The founders of Ask.fm are now promising to introduce additional features to make the site safer.

Sally Lockwood reports.

National

Bullied girl's dad: Government must regulate all internet

David Smith, whose 14-year-old daughter Hannah was found dead in her bedroom earlier this month, described Ask.fm's new measures as "a good thing".

But he said that in making changes, the site had "admitted that their website was dangerous for teenagers."

"It's now time for the Government to step up and start regulating these websites so that a 45-year-old lorry driver doesn't have to do it, because I haven't got time to do it any more," he added.

"It's not just Ask.fm, it's the whole internet. The Government actually do need step up and start regulating this internet to make the internet a safer place."

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Changes to make Ask.fm safer, says founders

In its statement, Ask.fm said changes include reviewing all reports made using the report button within 24 hours and hiring more staff to act as moderators, including a Safety Officer to take overall responsibility for moderation at the site.

To encourage people to join the site, unregistered users will not be able to access the same amount of features on the site as registered users.

Efforts to encourage people to register will mean the site will be able to record the email and IP addresses of users and deal better with reports.

National

Ask.fm says it has the technology to identify bullies

The founders of the website linked to the suicide of teenager Hannah Smith said they could reveal the names of anonymous bullies to the police.

Hannah, 14, died last Friday at her home in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, after being abused on the social networking site Ask.fm.

The log in page of Ask.fm.

Mark and Ilja Terebin, bosses of the Latvia-based website, said the site has the technology to identify "almost all users" and that they are committed to supporting the Leicestershire Police investigation.

They said "in extreme circumstances such as those we've experienced this week" they can use technology to identify those behind the taunts and "ensure this information is accessible to the appropriate legal authorities".

Read: Major advertisers quit ask.fm following teen's suicide

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Most ask.fm users can be tracked, site insists

The founders of Ask.fm have published an "open letter" in response to sustained criticism following the death of a teenager who was bullied on the website.

We would like to reassure all users and parents of users that we are committed to ensuring that our site is a safe environment.

We do not condone bullying of any kind, or any form of unacceptable use of our site.

We have implemented various measures over the past months to continue to improve our users’ safety, and we have implemented improved reporting policies.

– ask.fm

It then outlined a list of existing safety features available to users and insisted that "in almost all cases it is possible for Ask.fm to identify users – through IP technology."

National

Ask.fm backs down as father says website lacks respect

The father of teenager Hannah Smith has condemned the social networking website Ask.fm for planning to release a report on its safety measures on the day of his daughter's funeral.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the website said tonight that they will delay the report until Monday.

Dave Smith spoke to ITV News correspondent Rupert Evelyn:

Read: Ask.fm delays announcement until after Hannah's funeral

National

Government 'don't understand extent of cyber-bullying'

The father of Hannah Smith, the teenager who took her own life after allegedly being bullying on social media site ask.fm, said his life has been destroyed by her death.

Speaking ahead of his daughter's funeral tomorrow, David Smith has called for the government to do more to protect young people from cyber-bullying, and is angry at the response from the website. ITV News Midlands Correspondent Rupert Evelyn reports.

Read: Hannah Smith's father calls for law change

Ask.fm announce changes

In light of recent events, we engaged professional advisors to conduct a full and independent audit of our site and its safety features.

We will commit to reviewing all reports made using the report button within 24 hours:

·The amend to the report button and additional category will be completed and live on the site by September 2013.

·New members of the moderation team (including the Safety Officer) will be in place by January 2014.

· The button allowing users to opt-out of receiving anonymous questions will be more prominent and accessible by October 2013.

– Ilja and Mark Terebin, Ask.fm
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