Popular social media website causing controversy

CREATED Aug. 21, 2013

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New York (KTNV) -- A website gaining popularity has some parents and experts concerned. It's called ask.fm and for parents who haven't heard of it, you may want to find out if your kids are on the site.

The website is a popular social networking site, now reportedly linked to five teen suicides.

Critics said the website plus teens, is a recipe for online bullying.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are popular platforms for teens to share photos, tips on homework and gossip.

On ask.fm, teens can ask questions and answer anonymously. Users are posting vicious messages like "drink bleach," "got get cancer" and "go die."

16-year-old Jessica Laney of Florida reportedly took her life after relentless online attacks.

College student, Molly Cannon, has seen it first-hand. She remembers when she first logged on, and said innocent chats quickly became verbal assaults, "I would be sitting in my bed and I would cry because it was like, how can people be so mean."

In just the past year, more than six-million visitors worldwide have logged onto ask.fm. The site is also popular in Europe, and has been mentioned in media reports, in connection with several teen suicides in the UK and Ireland.

In response to this issue, the site said it's committed to ensuring a safe environment and has put various measures in place to improve user safety.