Teen location-based flirting app Skout has went offline. The company recently became aware that unscrupulous users had used the program to find young girls and boys and rape them. According to reports at least three rapes were setup using the program.
Skout had recently began as an 18-and-over community but added a separate 13-17-year-old community after noticing that many of their users were in fact underage.
The temporary shutdown of the 13 to 17-year-old program comes only a short period of time after venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz pumped $22 million in funding into the program following stellar engagement numbers that has included one million new users per month.
Skout officials say they are now examining potential new safeguards for its teen community.
Among the victims according to the New York Times was a 13-year-old-boy who sent nude photo to 21-year-old man posing as a minor and a 37-year-old man who met with a 15-year-old girl. The final case involved a 24-year-old man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl after meeting through the Skout teen forum.
Skout has not exactly allowed the service to go unmonitored, the company does use its own software to monitor activity in order to determine inappropriate behavior and content. Users who have been caught engaging in any sort of suspicious behavior are banned.
The location-based service could choose to ban minors all together but let’s be honest, they will simply lie about their age to access the network. In the meantime Skout is engaging with a leading risk management advisory firm to create a more secure, ultimately safer system for its younger users.