The Latvian-run platform, launched in June 2010, is a Web and mobile space where people create profiles so that anyone, not just other members, can ask them questions. This has ballooned into a parent-free digital space where kids go to goof off and escape the built-in accountability of Facebook.
On Ask.fm, members pick which questions, often just statements, they want to respond to. Their answers, which can include photos and video, are posted to their profiles, as well as to a real-time feed of responses. Though hidden from public sight, this stream makes it easy for any lurker with an account to glimpse inside this secret, profanity-laden world where crushes are exposed, Snapchats and Kiks are exchanged, insecurities are latched on to, and bullies go unchecked.