A Pandora’s Box of emotions has been opened in Ireland with the news that Ask.fm, the controversial anonymous social network for teenagers, is moving from Lativa to Ireland.
In Ireland, the site has been linked to the suicides of teenage girls in Donegal and Leitrim within the space of just a couple of weeks in 2012, the result of alleged cyberbullying via the site.
The suicides led to a major backlash in Ireland against cyberbullying, prompting social networks such as Facebook to openly explain and communicate their usage policies.
For similar reasons, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who wants to clamp down on cyberbullying, heavily criticised Ask.fm.
More recently, there are concerns that the Islamic State (IS) is attempting to use sites such as Ask.fm, Facebook and Twitter to radicalise and recruit Muslims from the Western world to join its crusade.
According to the Financial Times, Ask.fm, which has 180m users globally, is joining the existing headquarters of Ask.com in Dublin.
Ilja and Mark Terebin founded Ask.fm in 2010 and the site was later acquired by US media billionaire Mark Diller’s IAC Group. IAC Group also owns Ask.com.
The Ask.fm site is understood to have updated its policies to enable users to block anonymous questions and provide more information on safety controls.
In 2013, the site responded to widespread criticism by pledging to create a bullying and harassment reporting category and respond to such reports within 24 hours.
The company is also understood to be appointing a law enforcement affairs officer who will be based in Ireland.
Cyberbullies image via Shutterstock