Website linked to suicides moves HQ to Ireland

The website linked to the suicides of two Irish schoolgirls in 2012 is moving its headquarters from Latvia to Ireland.

Ask.fm’s move comes after it was acquired by Ask.com in August. Ask.fm was criticised following the deaths of Ciara Pugsley, 15, from Co Leitrim, and Erin Gallagher, 13, from Co Donegal, who took their lives after being subjected to anonymous bullying.

In the wake of the death of another child, British schoolgirl Hannah Smith, who was urged by online bullies to cut herself and drink bleach, the website initiated a safety audit.

That resulted in it announcing it would introduce a ‘bullying/harassment’ button, investigate reports of abusive behaviour within 24 hours, and hire more moderators and a safety officer.

Yesterday, the Financial Times quoted Doug Leeds, chief executive of Ask.fm, as saying that it had updated its policies and terms of service.

It also emerged the company is to appoint a “law enforcement affairs officer” based in Ireland, which would “materially improve the safety of the site”.

Ask.fm, a chat forum, is estimated to have 180m monthly users and is popular with teenagers.


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