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Ask.fm to focus on user safety with move to Ireland

The social networking site is attempting to overcome teen suicide issues by introducing new features

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Social networking site Ask.fm is to introduce new safety features when it moves to its Irish HQ.

The site has been blamed for teenage suicides after it came to light trolls were targeting its users when it was based in Latvia.

New owner IAC will roll out the new features over the next six months, including appointing a "law enforcement affairs officer" to deal with police when safety issues are brought to its attention.

In addition, advice will be presented to users when they use the service, telling them what to do if they feel they are being targeted by trolls.

Ask.com chief executive Doug Leeds announced the changes, but said the company wouldn't be changing how the site is run fundamentally. "There will be no changes to the fundamental aspects of the service such as charging for it or removing the ability to ask questions anonymously," he explained.

The company chose to move its operations to Irelandto boost "operational efficiency".

One father based in Ireland, Jonathan Pugsley, whose daughter Ciara committed suicide after being attacked on the site, is trying to get the move blocked by filing a complaint with the government.

He said: "This is a website which allows people to write whatever they want about whoever they wish online and protect the identity of those posting vile and horrible comments.

"You have to ask the question: Is this jobs at any cost? Where is Ireland's moral barometer?"

Ask.com said in a statement: "A key component of our commitment to materially improving the safety of the site was to be more transparent. These changes, as well as our current work to appoint a law enforcement affairs officer based in Ireland, will enable us to do just that."

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