3 Rape Cases Lead Flirting App to Ban Minors

Jun 14, 2012
Crime
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Location-based flirting app Skout has suspended its service for minors after the arrests of three men accused of raping young people they met by posing as teenagers. Execs at the company, which set up the service for 13- to 17-year-olds last year after discovering that large numbers of minors were already using the app, say they worked hard to put safeguards in place, and are stunned by the attacks, reports the New York Times. The youngest victim was a 12-year-old girl in California.

“I’m disgusted by what’s happened here,” Skout’s founder says. “One case is too many. When you have three, it looks like a pattern. This is my worst fear.” He says the service will stay offline while experts figure out better ways to protect minors, who make up a large proportion of Skout’s user base. Skout’s experience raises some tough questions about keeping minors safe online as Facebook considers allowing kids under 13 on board, VentureBeat notes.

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