updated 11:22 am EDT, Thu August 14, 2014
Terms of Ask.fm purchase involves exit of founding brothers
Ask.fm, the controversial question-and-answer site, has been acquired by the parent company of Ask.com and Tinder. InterActiveCorp picked up the service for an undisclosed amount, though under one of the terms of the purchase, founding brothers Mark and Ilja Terebin have been forced to cash out and leave the company entirely.
The site allows users to ask questions to others, both publicly and anonymously, and according to the New York Times, has attracted unwanted attention by being linked to a number of suicides by teenagers, as well as accusations of bullying. A second term of the purchase sees Ask.com attempting to reform the service, putting previous Yahoo director for global safety and product policy Catherine Teitelbaum in the position of Ask.fm chief trust and safety officer.
Currently Ask.fm has 180 million monthly users, approximately 40 percent of which is made up of users under the age of 18, with the site continuing to attract more thanks to the relatively low amount of moderation. Doug Leads, chief executive of Ask.com, claims "We're going to focus on turning around the philosophy of the company and putting trust and safety first."
TechCrunch reports Ask.com is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, requiring Ask.fm to update its security and safety policies. As part of this, the site will create a new online Safety Center, and establishing a Safety Advisory Board. It will also need to review user complaints within 24 hours, and remove malicious users after multiple complaints. Children under 13 will also be blocked from the site, and a new tool will be created, allowing parents and third parties to flag newly-created accounts by underage children.