Yubo app allegedly used by Uvalde gunman adds new ‘safety features’

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(NEW YORK) — Representatives of the social media app Yubo said on Tuesday that the platform is adding new safety features and updating its usage guidelines following news that the accused Robb Elementary School gunman allegedly used the app to send disturbing messages that appear to have gone unnoticed in the days leading up to the deadly shooting.

“The devastating events of 24 May in Uvalde, Texas, brought to light systemic issues in society that need to be addressed,” Yubo CEO Sacha Lazimi said in a statement Tuesday. “In the days since, we have been working to accelerate safety developments in our pipeline and further expand the scope of existing safeguards across our platform.”

Yubo representatives said that since the Uvalde shooting, they have updated the app’s risk-detection policy, enhanced its user-reporting capabilities and introduced audio-moderation technology for live streams that they say will allow for “comprehensive automatic moderation across the platform.”

ABC News previously reported that in the days and weeks before the Uvalde shooting, accused gunman Salvador Ramos appeared to have sent concerning messages — including claims about intentions of violence at school — to numerous young people he met online through the Yubo app. One user told ABC News she tried to report Ramos to Yubo — but that “regardless of how many times he was reported … he would still come back.”

The shooting, on May 24, left 19 students and two faculty members dead, making it one on of the deadliest school shootings in the nation’s history.

Representatives of Yubo also said Tuesday the platform has developed a new “combined-signals risk detection algorithm” that will help provide context around potential risks on its platform by assessing “a combination of signals including keywords, emojis, and images.”

Yubo representatives previously told ABC News that the company was “fully cooperating with law enforcement on their investigation.”

“We remain shocked and deeply saddened by this recent tragedy. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, and all who have been impacted,” they said.

Yubo, which was launched in 2015 by a French company, was listed in 2019 by Seventeen magazine as one of the seven best dating apps for teenagers.

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