Ask.fm

Ask.fm logo

Ask.fm (also commonly known as ASKfm) is a Latvian social networking site where users create profiles and can send each other questions. It's now well known and It was once a form of anonymous social media that encouraged questions to be submitted anonymously.

Quick Facts

Summary

  • Ranked #3,357th worldwide
  • Active users 215 M
  • Type Anonymous Networks
  • Launched date Jun 16, 2010
  • Employees 100
  • Headquarters Riga , Latvia
  • Parent company None

Founders

person
Ilya Terebin
person
Mark Terebin

Networks

  • Brand value In 2020 N/A
  • Revenue in 2020 N/A
  • Net loss In 2020 N/A

Current Controversies

Current ControversiesHannah Smith - Cyber-bully victim. (via hinckleytimes.net)

On Aug 6, 2013 it was reported that Hannah Smith, a 14-year-old girl from Leicestershire, England, had killed herself, and that her father blamed her death on cyberbullying responses she had received on the site. He called for tighter controls against social networking sites like Ask.fm, saying that he had seen the abuse his daughter had received and it was wrong that it was anonymous. The Smith family calls were echoed by the parents of Goosnargh, Lancashire teenager Joshua Unsworth, who was reported to have been cyberbullied on the site prior to his suicide.

Following the suicide of Smith, British Prime Minister David Cameron called for a boycott of websites that do not take responsibility for dealing with cyberbullying on their sites. Several advertisers responded by severing links with the site, including (amongst others) Save the Children, eBay, BT and Vodafone had already stopped advertising on the site.

The company responded by stating it was 'happy to help police'. ASKfm also conducted an internal audit and made changes to its safety policies accordingly. Above all, they enhanced reporting and blocking functionalities, and they hired more moderation staff to review reports within 24 hours upon receiving them. ASKfm also encouraged more users to have registered accounts, so the company could capture IP data for safety purposes.

The further investigation showed there was no sufficient evidence to suggest that using the ASKfm site has led to the death of the young girl. In fact, Det Sgt Wayne Simmons revealed that Hannah had been sending ‘bullying and aggressive messaging’ to herself. Later Hannah Smith's case of self-bullying became a subject of academic research.

Reception

Ask.fm has been cited as an example of the problems anonymous social media can cause through its combination of offline contacts who know each other well, and the availability of online anonymity.

Since 2014, the company has been constantly improving its service to prevent bullying, so it can be also considered as an example of how modern cyber safety technologies are implemented to tackle the issue.

Original Idea

original ideaoriginal idea

The app, created by Michael Callahan and Cory Levy of ONE, Inc.

Cofounder and CEO Michael Callahan said he built the app as a way to give teens a “safe haven” that he did not have at school, where he himself was a victim of bullying.

Growing up, I dealt with my girlfriend's attempted suicides, being bullied because I was different, child abuse, and being taken advantage of sexually,” he said.

Brief History

2010
Jun Launch Ask.fm website.
2014
Aug The site was purchased by IAC, who also owns Ask.com, with IAC announcing its intention to refocus on safety.
2016

IAC sold it to Noosphere, a California-based asset management firm.

ASKfm did a major rebranding, changed the logo, and made several interface improvements.

2017

ASKfm reached of 215 million registered users and remained the largest Q&A network in the world.

It introduced three new features - Photo Polls, Shoutouts, and Discover. Photo polls allow voting for one of two photos in the post.

A shoutout is a question asked to random ASKfm users in one location.

Discover is a separate feed for the most interesting answers in the country.

ASKfm also partnered with Koko, a company that provide AI powered service in detecting damaging content.

2018

ASKfm teamed up with the UK charity The Diana Award and Dr Linda Papadopoulos for a research on how the online life affects the way young people build their identity.

ASKfm launched the idea of ASKfm 2.0.

Creating its in-app currency - coins and a separate Versus feed for photo polls.

2019

The team released Leaderboards, the feature showing the most active users on the platform and Tipping, that allows rewarding users' answers with coins.

Network Features

News

Here you can keep track of your friends' Asks. You can drop your heart or answer their questions. This helps users to increase interaction by asking questions to friends.

In addition, you can make a discussion, vote for a small photo, share Ask.Fm Shoutout or interesting things to share with friends. In which, shoutout is simply understood as you send messages, notify someone on Ask so that that person understands and confides in you.

Question

This is a place to store a large number of anonymous or non-anonymous questions, shoutout questions. You can ask any question, unlimited topics. You can also answer and share your Ask or on other social network if you want. Moreover, the questions are not limited to the number of words, so you are free to ask and answer anything.

File

This is where you will display personal information, show photos and some of your own questions and answers.

Friend

You can automatically search or find someone you know through this feature or by asking questions. If you have a question: Does Ask Fm know the questioner? Then don't worry at all because it is secured by an anonymous form that the respondent will not be able to know your true identity. Or you are also very secure because no questions or other information will be leaked by the person who is following you.

Ask Fm is a very nice and useful website. However, it is inevitable that there are some strengths but there are still disadvantages because it is possible that some bad actors take advantage of and probe information or steal information from you. Therefore, when using Ask Fm, it is also necessary to pay attention, take precautions and ensure privacy.

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