THE BLOG

The Ask.fm Disaster

19/08/2013 15:06 BST | Updated 18/10/2013 10:12 BST

When social media comes under attack, its creators defend it, some users say they have never experienced the issues and those that don't use it tut and say shut it down.

And that is what is happening right now, regarding the question site ask.fm, after two teenagers decided to end their lives after online bullying and blackmail, where ask.fm has been mentioned.

For me, I have my ask.fm there so that people can ask me about my political, cultural and social opinions, and my reply can be as lengthy as I want, without having the constraints of a 140 character limit. Many people I know, mainly due to the people that I socialise with online, use it for a similar thing.

However, it can get nasty. I now no longer feel comfortable using ask.fm after I received threats and abuse that lead me to want to end my own life. I don't know whether they were doing it as some sick joke, they knew me personally or just hurl abuse at 'the twitter left'. Either way what they said, really hurt.

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I know they checked my twitter, they'd make comments rather than questions through ask.fm about things I had tweeted. And, when I said I was considering contacting the police about the ask.fm abuse, they shut up and never returned. I am still considering doing that, especially with the recent situations that have arisen.

There are some obvious things that they could do. It is reasonable to keep people as anonymous, because some people do ask questions and they don't want to be known because they are shy or the question is a little bit silly.

If everybody had to log in to be able to access another persons page and be able to actually ask questions, then it would be very easy for the company to make it so that the person receiving questions if they didn't like them could press 'block this user'. Because even if it appears anonymous, there is still a single account at the other end that is traceable and accountable.

This is not enough though as people would still be made to read the horrible words sent to them. I struggle to imagine in this day and age that the words 'go kill yourself' cannot be blocked from appearing in a sentence that is sent. Or that they can not have a system of checking for users that asks potentially questionable material, and taking appropriate action against them.

But all that I really have to say on this story is that I send apologies to the families of the two teenagers that ended their lives because of this, because many users, including myself could have done so much more. Nobody should find out that somebody ended their own life because of something that could have been prevented and controlled much better.

I hope that something is done to keep the website ultimately the same, but with much better protection filters.