Skout is famous for being infamous in the social app world. Skout found itself at the wrong end of the law when three adults were arrested by the police for preying on minors using the social app and sexually assaulting them. As a result, Skout was forced to shut down.
However, the company is planning to reopen the app, of course with more security measures in place. Christian Wiklund, Skout’s founder, said the company would introduce additional authentication technologies starting Friday.
Age verification is right in the middle of the deal. Skout has appointed a task force of security specialists last month to help it improve security and find better ways to vet users’ ages online. Skout will now rely more heavily on Facebook to verify users’ ages by forcing members to enter the service through Facebook Connect, which prohibits users under the age of 13.
Facebook Connect allows Facebook users to log in to other sites through their Facebook accounts, and if the birth date a user provides to Skout does not match that on Facebook, Skout will automatically ban that user’s smartphone from accessing the service ever.
But the security measures cannot be fool proof no matter how hard people try. Even Wiklund knows that. He said that though it will never be 100 percent bulletproof, the revamped service will be much safer than before.
There’s more. Earlier, teenagers could see other members’ locations beyond a one mile radius in the app. Now they will only be able to communicate with users beyond a 100 mile radius and will not be able to see a user’s location at all.
Skout has expanded its security and privacy team and was in the process of hiring a chief privacy officer. At least four staff members will vet each teenager’s photo to ensure they are appropriate before they are published and teenagers will no longer have the option to make their photos private.
Until last month, the app guaranteed users that it would respond to reports of inappropriate behavior within four hours. Now Skout will to speed up its response time to 15 minutes.