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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.

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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.

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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Controversial website to publish plans to combat cyber bullying

Hannah Smith Credit: Family photo

The website, Ask.fm, used by cyberbullying victim Hannah Smith from Lutterworth, is due to publish the action it will take to combat the problem.

It postponed its announcement from last Friday to avoid clashing with Hannah's funeral.

The 14-year-old took her own life after receiving malicious anonymous online messages. Her father Dave Smith has called on the Prime Minister to do more to tackle the problem

Ask.fm Credit: Credit: Matt Stevens/PA Wire/Press Association Images
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Comments attributed to Ask.fm in UK press 'distorted'

Ask.fm co-founder Klavs Sinka has suggested comments in the British media attributed to the social networking site about cyberbullying victim Hannah Smith were "distorted".

Klavs Sinka, a co-founder of Ask.fm, spoke exclusively to ITV News.
Klavs Sinka, a co-founder of Ask.fm, spoke exclusively to ITV News. Credit: ITV News

In an exclusive interview with ITV News, Mr Sinka claimed the hype surrounding the story was the work of the worst of the British press.

Mr Sinka said, "This is also why we have been avoiding making any comments, because we see that we can say anything but it will be twisted and turned back on us regardless of what we meant."

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Co-founder: Other sites 'could learn' from Ask.fm

Ask.fm co-founder Klavs Sinka told ITV News in an exclusive interview that other social networking sites "could learn" from Ask.fm when it comes to its moderation policies.

Ask.fm co-founder Klavs Sinka said it was one of the 'best moderated' social networking sites.
Ask.fm co-founder Klavs Sinka said it was one of the 'best moderated' social networking sites. Credit: Ask.fm

Mr Sinka said, "I am not afraid to say that Ask.fm is one of the best controlled, best moderated and regulated projects".

"One could learn from us," he added.

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Ask.fm founder: PM 'did not have all the information'

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.

Ask.fm co-founder Klavs Sinka speaks exclusively to ITV News.
Ask.fm co-founder Klavs Sinka speaks exclusively to ITV News. Credit: ITV News

Klavs Sinka said he believed the Prime Minister "hadn't really researched" the case before he made his comments.

He continued, "He was probably caught on the street in an interview similar to this and made a comment without having the full information about this case."

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