UK: Teenager kills herself after bullying posts on Ask.fm; social networking company says will help police investigation

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Article
11 August 2013

Ask.fm: ‘Hannah sent hate notes to herself’ (UK)

Author: Anna Mikhailova & Robin Henry, Sunday Times (UK)

The website Ask.fm, on which Hannah Smith...received hate messages before she was found hanged, has...claim[ed] she posted many of the comments herself. Ask.fm executives are understood to have said...that the company has analysed the profiles of the senders of the bullying messages and concluded that Hannah had set up most of the anonymous identities herself and sent the vast majority of the messages. “With the Hannah case, the company have looked at every identity — the IP addresses are trackable. She posted the anonymous things herself. The police has all that data,”...[T]he company said “98%” of the messages had come from the same IP address as Hannah’s, with about four posts that had not.

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Article
8 August 2013

Ask.fm advertisers desert site in cyber bullying row

Author: BBC News

The Sun newspaper [part of News Corporation], mental health charity Mind and optical retailer Specsavers are among those who have asked the site [Ask.fm] to remove adverts…The controversy comes after the death of bullied 14-year-old Hannah Smith…A source at the Sun…told the BBC it would cancel the advertising package which saw an advert for the paper's new online service appear on the site…Vodafone, Specsavers, Save the Children and Laura Ashley have also moved to withdraw their adverts…

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Article
8 August 2013

Cyberbullying websites should be boycotted, says Cameron (UK)

Author: Ellen Coyne, Guardian (UK)

Internet users should boycott "vile" websites that allow cyberbullying to help prevent more deaths of young people, the prime minister has said. David Cameron asked parents to boycott sites that granted bullies unmoderated access to young people and said those who posted abuse online were not above the law. He urged website operators to act responsibly to protect children from bullies, following the death of 14-year-old Hannah Smith, who killed herself...after receiving abuse on Ask.fm. Her father...has said those who run the website should face murder or manslaughter charges and called for more regulation of social networking sites...Cameron...[said]: "The people that operate these websites have got to step up to the plate and show some responsibility in the way that they run these websites.

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Article
6 August 2013

Hannah Smith death: Ask.fm 'to help police inquiry' (UK)

Author: BBC News

A social networking site where comments were posted to a 14-year-old girl who later died after "web bullying" says it will help the police investigation. Ask.fm allows users to post anonymously and Hannah's father...said he found posts on his daughter's page telling her to die...ask.fm said..."Hannah Smith's death is a tragedy...We have reached out to...police and would be happy to co-operate with their investigation...Ask.fm actively encourages our users and their parents to report any incidences of bullying...All reports are read by our team of moderators to ensure that genuine concerns are heard and acted upon immediately - and we always remove content reported to us that violates our terms of service."

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