(NEW YORK) — Skout, a popular mobile flirting application, has suspended its service for teenagers after it was linked to three sexual assaults in recent weeks, causing developers to re-evaluate its security measures.
The separate sexual assaults involved two girls, ages 12 and 15, and a 13-year-old boy. All were allegedly victimized by adults posing as teens.
“For now, we believe that there’s only one thing we can do: until we can design better protections, we are temporarily shutting down the under-18 community,” founder and CEO Christian Wiklund said in a statement posted on the company’s blog.
The mobile networking app, which was originally intended for adults, launched an offshoot for teens last year after developers realized teens were using the adult version.
Despite the additional security measures the teen version touted, the application has shown it needs more safety controlls, Wiklund said, adding that he takes the assaults very seriously.
His team is “working around the clock to build better safeguards,” including an age verification system, he said.
“We will not compromise the safety of our community, and right now, our concerns are too significant to simply stand by and do nothing,” Wiklund said in his blog post.
The social networking app, which works on iPhones and Android devices, claims it is one of the largest mobile networks for meeting new people.
In April of 2012, Skout secured $22 million in funding from the powerhouse tech venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, whose clients include Foursquare and Air BnB.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Sam Turner, Deseret News