Hannah Smith death: 'Bullying' website launches review

Hannah Smith Hannah Smith died after receiving online abuse via ask.fm

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The website at the centre of a row about cyberbullying says it has ordered a "full and independent audit" of the site and its safety features.

Latvian-based ask.fm said it had engaged law firm Mishcon de Reya to carry out the review.

A statement from the site's owners said they were "committed to providing a safe environment" for its users.

Hannah Smith, from Leicestershire, was found hanged last week. Her father said she had had abusive messages on ask.fm.

The site owners, Mark and Ilja Terebin, said: "We recognise the importance of acting quickly and decisively at this time to ensure our users and their parents do not lose confidence in our social network.

"A team of lawyers and media specialists are currently undertaking a detailed examination and investigation of the various procedures and policies we have in place.

"They will report back to us with their findings and comprehensive recommendations in the next seven days."

'Best interests'

They said they would announce next Friday what action they planned to take based on those recommendations.

They added: "We are confident that taking this action is in the best interests of our users and of social networkers as a whole.

"We are committed to safeguarding against bullying and harassment in all forms and would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues across the industry to do this."

Prime Minister David Cameron has said social networking sites must "clean up their act" and tackle online abuse, or face being boycotted. He said Hannah's death was "absolutely tragic".

Several large businesses, including the Sun newspaper, energy company EDF, communications giant BT and optical retailer Specsavers, are among those to have distanced themselves from the site by withdrawing adverts.

Hannah's father David said she killed herself after being bullied on ask.fm and called for tighter controls of social networking sites.

Ask.fm allows people to post comments anonymously. Hannah's father said he found posts telling his daughter to die.

Police are investigating claims that, since Hannah's death, her 16-year-old sister has also received abusive web messages.

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