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Ask.fm to encourage email sign-up for accountability

Ask.fm said it was taking steps to encourage its users to sign-up using an email address to allow them to better track reports of bullying.

Currently users do not have an incentive to register to use the site. This will change.

Unregistered users will not be able to access the same amount of features on the site as registered users.

They will have to register if they wish to obtain full access to Ask.fm.

In this way, using an email verification upon sign-up, Ask.fm can capture the email and IP addresses of users and be better equipped to deal with reports.

– Ilja and Mark Terebin

Ask.fm to appoint safety officer and more moderators

Ask.fm has announced that it will hire a safety officer to oversee the moderation of questions and comments on the social media site.

Part of a statement released by the site's founders, Ilja and Mark Terebin, said:

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

To do this, we will hire more staff to act as moderators, including a Safety Officer to take overall responsibility for moderation at Ask.fm.

The report button will be more prominent on the site itself, and "bullying/harassment" will be introduced as a category alongside the existing categories of "spam or scam", "hate speech", "violence" and "pornographic content".

Users who click this button will be directed to third party resources to help them.

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Ask.fm to announce the action it will take after audit

The website linked to the suicide of teenager Hannah Smith is due to announce the action it will take following a full and independent audit of its site and safety features by law firm Mishcon de Reya.

The 14-year-old from Lutterworth, Leicestershire, whose funeral was held on Friday, was said to have endured months of torment on controversial question-and-answer website Ask.fm before she was founded hanged in her bedroom two weeks ago.

Ask.fm delayed making an announcement based on the lawyers' recommendations on Friday as a mark of respect to Hannah.

Mourners gather for cyberbullying victim's funeral

Mourners gathered today at St. Mary's Church in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, for the funeral of 14-year-old Hannah Smith, who took her own life after she was bullied online.

It came as Ask.fm co-founder Klavs Sinka told ITV News that the British media has hyped up a row over cyberbullying following teenager's death.

ITV News correspondent Nina Nannar reports:

Ask.fm 'in no way guilty' after cyberbullying death

The co-founder of Ask.fm told ITV News in an exclusive interview that the site is "in no way guilty" following the death of cyberbullying victim Hannah Smith.

Klavs Sinka highlighted that Ask.fm has a privacy measure in place so its users can choose not to receive comments that are sent anonymously.

Hannah Smith, 14, took her own life after receiving abusive messages online. Credit: Facebook

Mr Sinka said, "You can construct a car with air bags and seat belts, but you cannot put a person next to you that will put a seat belt on you in an emergency".

He added that although the site can be made "as safe as possible", in the end it is up to the user to make the decision whether to use the privacy measure available.

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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. 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."

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. 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.

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. 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."

Hannah funeral 'a fitting tribute'

The vicar who led the funeral of 14-year-old cyberbullying victim Hannah Smith called the service "a fitting tribute".

Rev Charlie Styles said: "There were obvious tears and it was quite heartbreaking really to hear, especially some of the younger people, some of Hannah's friends sobbing.

"But the overall tone of the service, and the tone really of today, was a feeling of celebration and laughter even amidst the tears.

"It was a fitting tribute to Hannah - the music choices were the sort of thing that she loved, that she liked to dance to or sing in the shower, which was just wonderful to be able to do and I think, as well, we managed to express some of the sadness that we're all feeling."

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