Skout will reopen to teens Friday with some major changes aimed at keeping those teens safer including removing the location feature, Chief Executive Christian Wiklund said in an interview late Thursday.
The mobile flirting app that connects strangers banned minors last month after three men were accused of raping children they met through the app. The company created a separate, more protected app for 13- to 17-year-olds, who make up a significant portion of its users, but adult predators infiltrated the forum.
"What we can promise is that it’s much safer than it was before," Wiklund said.
Teens will no longer be able to see or search by location and they will not be able to find anyone on Skout who is within 100 miles of them. They will also have to connect to Skout through Facebook. The company will verify Facebook credentials, and anyone caught lying about his or her age will be permanently banned from the service along with his or her mobile device, Wiklund said. Skout is also deleting all connections teen users had on the app, as well as all of their chat lists, favorite lists, comments and chats.
Wiklund also pledged closer monitoring of the teen app. He said Skout had hired additional community managers.