DUBLIN, Jan. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Ask.fm, the world's largest Q&A social network, today announced the formation of its Safety Advisory Board as part of its immediate plan to materially enhance the safety of its service, which attracts more than 150 million monthly uniques from around the world.
Under the stewardship of Ask.fm's newly appointed Chief Trust and Safety Officer, Catherine Teitelbaum, the Ask.fm Safety Advisory Board is comprised of some of the world's most renowned digital safety experts, and reflects deep expertise across a variety of topics, including cyberbullying and its combined impact with bullying in the physical world.
The purpose of the board is to assist Ask.fm with a global view on industry-leading guidance, research and best practices as it develops new polices, procedures and strategies for enhancing user safety on the site, and collaborating with industry, communities, schools, government and law enforcement to make Ask.fm a safer and more positive place.
Newly-appointed Board members include:
- John Carr OBE – One of the world's leading authorities on young people's use of the Internet, Mr. Carr is Secretary of the UK's Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety (CHIS), Technical Adviser (Online), to Bangkok-based ECPAT International, and Expert Adviser to the European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online (eNACSO) based in Rome. He is also a member of the Executive Board of the UK Council on Child Internet Safety, the British Government's principal advisory body for online safety and security for young people.
- Anne Collier – Author and digital safety expert who is also founder and executive director of NetFamilyNews.org, co-director of ConnectSafely.org and co-author of "A Parents Guide to Facebook" and "MySpace Unraveled: A Parents Guide to Teen Social Networking." Ms. Collier currently sits on Facebook's Safety Advisory Board and the boards of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) and GetNetWise.org; she also served as co-chair of the Obama administration's Online Safety and Technology Working Group, which, in June 2010, delivered its report to Congress, "Youth Safety on a Living Internet."
- Marsali Hancock – Founding president and chief executive officer of iKeepSafe.org, an international network of more than 100 policy leaders, educators, law enforcement workers, technology experts and advocates united in a commitment to help track Internet-connected devices' impact and effect on youth. Winner of the 2009 FOSI award for outstanding achievement, Ms. Hancock engages with international groups on digital citizenship issues, including cyber safety, security, ethics and responsibility.
- Dr. Brian O'Neill – Based in Ireland, Dr. O'Neill is the Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation Services at the Dublin Institute of Technology, and also serves as Director of the EU Kids Online initiative in Ireland and independent assessor of the ICT Coalition for Children Online in the EU. Dr. O'Neill is also chair of the Irish government's Internet Content Governance task force.
- Dr. Justin Patchin – Co-director of CyberBullying Research Center and top author and researcher on the intersection of teens and technology, with particular focus on cyberbullying, social networking and sexting. Dr. Patchin is the well-respected author behind "Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral," written for teens, and "Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying" which was named Educator Book of the Year by ForeWord Reviews.
"Our view is that safety is a collaborative effort, and I look forward to tapping into the expertise of these world-renowned experts as we tackle the complex challenges social networks face," said Catherine Teitelbaum, chief trust and safety officer at Ask.fm. "My team is committed to doing the hard work in digging into the issues our users – particularly teens – grapple with as they navigate social platforms, and partnering with all stakeholders to develop real working solutions."
Today's news is the latest milestone in Ask.com's plan to transform the Ask.fm service and materially impact the safety of the site. Since being acquired by Ask.com, and over the last five months, Ask.fm has executed the following:
- Removed the prior founders and Ask.fm leadership who didn't share Ask.com's commitment to safety.
- Partnered with two Attorneys General in the US (New York and Maryland) to formalize agreements around Ask.fm safety commitments and plans.
- Hired two world-class safety experts to lead its safety strategy: Catherine Teitelbaum (Yahoo!, KidZania) as global Chief Trust and Safety Officer, and Annie Mullins OBE (Yahoo UK, Vodafone) to direct safety operations in the EU.
- Engaged with government regulators, ministers and safety NGOs in Ireland as part of its relocation from Latvia to Dublin.
- 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:
- Grew moderation team by 20 percent;
- Increased the volume of moderated content by 40 percent;
- Increased moderation across several additional languages;
- Improved process and tools to moderate and remove inappropriate video content.
Next, Ask.fm will focus on key areas such as:
- A revamped Safety Center with tailored guidance and expert content for users, parents, educators, schools and law enforcement.
- 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 regions.
- Partnerships with leading mental health and suicide prevention organizations to best support users in crisis.
"We bought Ask.fm both because of its impressive organic growth and its potential for becoming an even bigger mainstream social network for asking and answering questions," said Doug Leeds, chief executive officer, Ask.com, the parent company of Ask.fm. "But we've said from the beginning that unlocking that potential is dependent on putting safety first. It won't be a quick or easy process, but step by step we are methodically tackling safety issues on Ask.fm, and are as committed as ever to making the site a safer and more positive place."
With more than 100 million global users, Ask.com is a leading online brand for questions and answers and an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI). More information is available at www.ask.com or http://blog.ask.com.
Ask.fm is the world's largest Q&A social network where more than 150 million members in more than 150 countries connect and engage by asking each other questions. Ask.fm is operated by Ask.com, the leading brand for online questions and answers and an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI).