Maryland AG reaches agreement with social network

By Bryan Cohen | Aug 15, 2014

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BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) - Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler announced an online safety agreement with the operator of a social networking website that will protect children on the site.

Ask.com, an operating company of IAC/InterActiveCorp, recently acquired the social networking site Ask.fm. Ask.fm is a site based in Latvia that has more than 180 million active users, 42 percent of whom are under the age of 18. The site allows users to post anonymous questions to other users and has been associated with instances of cyberbullying and suicide.

"Making the internet safer for children is of utmost importance, especially in light of far too many instances of cyberbullying and hurtful content that have ended tragically, here in Maryland and beyond," Gansler said. "The commitment by Ask.fm to quickly review complaints and ban users who repeatedly post offensive or harmful material will create a more hospitable online atmosphere that will diminish cyberbullying."

Under the terms of the agreement, Ask.fm must revamp its safety policies and procedures. Ask.fm must create a new online safety center as a resource for law enforcement, school personnel, parents and teens; review user-submitted complaints within 24 hours and delete the accounts of repeat violators; establish a safety advisory board to oversee safety issues; and hire a trust and safety officer to act as the site's primary safety contact.

Ask.fm also reached a similar agreement with the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

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Maryland Attorney General's Office New York Attorney General

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