Though Americans represent the 2nd-biggest population on Latvia-based social media site Ask.fm, they also represent only 10% of the activity on the site. But all 105+ million users will benefit from new safety measures the service has put in place, one of them being a new Safety Center, which includes a page with a clear description of how the site works.
Based on recommendations from a months-long audit of the service by international law firm Mishcon de Reya, here are some of the changes to Ask.fm:
- Anonymity: Users can now “opt out” – change the default settings so they don’t receive anonymous questions if they’re not comfortable with them. Here, I think credibly, is what Ask.fm says about anonymity: It “helps give young people the encouragement and confidence to ask the questions, have the conversations and find the answers to the challenges of growing up. It is one of our core values [and] provides our users with a platform to share opinions without the fear of being judged.”
- Reporting problems: Users can now report problems with one click right from within a question that bothers them. “Our team of moderators is committed to dealing with any reports of bullying, harassment or inappropriate questions within 24-hours of a report being made,” Ask.fm says.
Forty languages are spoken on Ask.fm, and its users are in more than 150 countries. The top 12 countries are Russia, the US, Brazil, Poland, Italy, Mexico, Turkey, France, Spain and Germany, Argentina and Saudi Arabia, in that order. Even though the UK doesn’t turn up in the top 12, Britons – including the UK’s Safer Internet Centre and its Helpline and Annie Mullens, formerly international mobile carrier Vodafone’s head of safety policy and content, have figured prominently in advising Ask.fm.