February 5, 2015 at 12:32 AM CST - Updated July 10 at 10:00 AM
Following is a statement from Ask.fm spokeswoman Catherine Teitelbaum:
Ask.fm was acquired by Ask.com in August 2014. We've gone on record to say that we wouldn't have done this acquisition if we didn't believe that with significant and strategic investment we could make Ask.fm safer for all our users.
Since then we've been working steadily toward that goal. One of the major steps was the removal of the previous founders (who didn't share Ask.com's commitment to safety) and the appointment of Catherine Teitelbaum as our Chief Trust and Safety Officer upon acquisition. Most recently, we announced the company's first Safety Advisory Board just last month which includes renowned digital safety experts from around the world.
Next week, we're participating in Safer Internet Day US being held at Facebook. Catherine will be speaking and we've kicked off a #nobullies campaign today in honor of the event and our on-going efforts to promote positive behavior on Ask.fm and online in general.
Over the last few months, Ask.fm has also executed on the following:
• Secured deals with two Attorneys General in the US (New York and Maryland) to outline safety commitments and plans.
• Hired two world-class safety experts to lead its safety strategy: Catherine Teitelbaum (Yahoo!, KidZania) as global Chief Safety and Trust Officer, and Annie Mullins OBE (Yahoo UK, Vodaphone) to direct safety operations in the EU.
• Relocated Ask.fm headquarters out of Latvia to Dublin Ireland to take advantage of better efficiency.
• Launched new Terms and Policies to better clarify safety controls and site features for users.
• Targeted investments in moderation technology, practices and guidelines have yielded the following:
Moderation team grew by 20 percent The number of reports checked expanded by 40 percent Increased moderation across several additional languages Improved process and tools to moderate and remove inappropriate video content Increased and more nuanced filters to automatically block content that goes against Ask.fm Terms · Appointed a new Head of Moderation, Kathy Ciari, to spearhead the team's ongoing moderation overhaul and identify new strategies and technology.
Over the next several months, Ask.fm will continue this momentum, focusing on key areas, such as:
· A revamped Safety Center with tailored guidance and content for parents, educators, schools and law enforcement (coming really soon!).
· The appointment of two law enforcement liaison positions, one in Ireland, one in the North America, to more closely partner with local law enforcement in these markets.
· Partnerships with leading mental health and suicide prevention organizations to best support users in crisis.