Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Teenage girl driven to hang herself by Ask.fm net trolls
Hannah Smith, 14, was found dead in her bedroom after cyber bullies on Ask.fm subjected her to shameful abuse, calling her ugly and suggesting she kill herself.
The question-and-answer site, open to users as young as 13, is facing a backlash after it was linked to the deaths of other teenagers.
Calls are growing for the site, based in Latvia, to be banned. Hannah’s father suggested its creators should be charged with manslaughter.
Her death, the fourth connected to the site, comes amid controversy over trolling on Twitter which has seen high-profile women receive rape and bomb threats.
The day before she died, Hannah posted a moving picture message on Facebook reading: ‘You think you want to die but in reality you just want to be saved.’ One troll suggested her uncle had ‘deserved’ to die of cancer.
Responding to a message which called her ‘ugly’, she wrote: ‘Yes i may be ugly but you obviously have an ugly personality to tell people to “go die”!’
In response to a troll who suggested she should kill herself, Hannah replied: ‘Wow, well for your information I’ve tried committing suicide before, and yes, I know I’m ugly no need to tell me.’
At one point Hannah urged her tormentors to stop hiding behind their anonymity, posting: ‘If you want to give me hate then either inbox me, say it to my face or come off anon.’
Police were called to her home in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, where her body was found on Friday.
Hannah’s father Dave, 44, wrote on Facebook: ‘I have just seen the abuse my daughter got from people on Ask.fm and the fact that these people can be anonymous is wrong.
‘The person that created this website should be done for manslaughter. Any parents that have children please don’t let them go on this site.’
Ask.fm users must register an email address, name and date of birth but those posting messages can remain anonymous.
An Ask.fm spokesman said it could not respond ‘at this moment’ because it was ‘investigating the specifics of the tragic incident’.