We’ve written before about question and answer site Ask.fm, which has become an online hot spot for teens but has also attracted some of the worst kid of internet trolls imaginable. Ask chooses not to comply with prevailing child privacy laws, and while it requires no personal information at registration, it does attempt to collect personal identifying information after sign up.
Innocent teens are going to the site, asking questions and revealing personal information, and are in many cases being met by a barrage of bullying and taunting that has lead to at least four suicides, including one in England this month by teen Hannah Smith.
This latest suicide has prompted advertisers to boycott the site, according to an article in Britain’s Telegraph. Vodafone, Laura Ashley, Save the Children and DialAFlight have all announced that they will no longer be advertising on Ask.
The have been recent calls for Ask’s hosting and web services provider, Amazon.com, to shut down the site, but no action has been taken to date.
Here in the U.S., the Maryland Attorney General has urged action against Ask, but to date there have been no real movement. It’s refreshing and not surprising that advertisers are now choosing not to be associated with the site – it should have happened earlier.
As of last month, Ask had grown to over 60 million users, many or most of them teenagers. If your teen is on the site, a long conversation about personal safety and maintaining self esteem is warranted.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.