Gardaí given user details from Ask.fm

Controversial social networking website ask.fm has forwarded information to gardaí investigating the death of Erin Gallagher, the young girl who took her own life after being bullied on the site.

Gardaí have received five IP addresses which they believe contain messages of bullying allegedly against Erin, it has emerged.

It comes as Erin’s mother said safety changes to the website will not bring her daughter back.

The owners of the site have introduced changes to the site after public pressure following the deaths of three teenagers.

The changes include a larger “report button” on the site and the promise of taking on more moderators to tackle abuse and online bullying by users.

However, Co Donegal mother Lorraine Gallagher, whose 13-year-old daughter Erin killed herself after being abused on Ask.fm, said the changes were not enough.

Lorraine’s other daughter Shannon, 15, also took her own life just six weeks after her sister’s death.

The Ballybofey native says nothing but full registration on the site to stop people from posting hurtful comments anonymously will prevent others from doing what Erin did.

“The whole issue about Ask.fm is that people can post these comments anonymously and this has not changed.

“People can still go on and make vile comments and hide anonymously. It just doesn’t go far enough,” she said.

“They say they are going to bring on more moderators but unless they bring on hundreds of more people, they simply cannot check all the posts.”

Ms Gallagher said there are simply not enough resources at the questions and answers website to patrol trolls making abusive comments online.

“There are up to 20m people, many teenagers, using the site. They will never be able to check even a small percentage of what is being said.

“The bottom line is that they have to get all people to register so that if they do bully online then they can be traced and held to account.”

Changes promised by Ask.fm founders Ilja and Mark Terebin include a registration which means people who do not register will not be able to access all services on the site, though many can still continue to post general comments anonymously.

Those who do register will allow the site to record the email and IP addresses of users and deal better with reports, it said.

In a statement the founders said a safety audit of the site had been completed and “we can today announce our commitment to making changes to Ask.fm’s existing policies in three core areas: reporting and moderation, registration, and corporate visibility”.

More in this section