Skout Appoints VP of Trust, Safety & Community

 Skout recently named community safety expert Karen Barker vice president of trust, safety and community.

“As Skout’s community safety leader, Karen will ensure that trust and safety is built into everything we do,” said CEO and founder Christian Wiklund.

Barker will direct a global team of community managers, lead privacy and safety policy initiatives, collaborate with product, engineering and design teams, and oversee the enforcement of trust and safety policies.

“Our community is highly engaged and active because we create fun, positive experiences and have zero tolerance for bad behavior,” said Wiklund. “Karen will help us strengthen this commitment and guide us as we continue to implement some of the most advanced safety policies and technologies in the industry.”

Offering two separate and distinct communities for teens and adults, Skout is committed to cultivating peace of mind as community members easily and safely make new friends and enjoy features like chatting, virtual gift-giving and photo sharing.

Skout deploys advanced, proprietary technology that continuously monitors activity on the network to identify users whose behavior appears unusual, inappropriate or suspicious.  Under its zero-tolerance policy, Skout immediately bans users for inappropriate or suspicious behavior.

Barker is a customer safety expert who has designed and managed community care, fraud and risk programs for companies including Sprint, The Walt Disney Company, Restoration Hardware, and eHarmony.

Starting in 1990 as vice president of operations for SuperShuttle International, Barker worked with transportation associations and public utilities commissions to develop programs for the safety of passengers and drivers. She was instrumental in testing onboard safety technology including the first GPS-based vehicle tracking and dispatching system.

In her new role, Barker will be instrumental in actualizing Skout’s mission of connecting people around the world through a platform that is fun, engaging and secure.

“The opportunity to work with a community as dynamic and thriving as Skout’s is tremendous.  I look forward to building on the strong systems, tools and processes that reflect Skout’s top commitment, which is the safety of its community,” said Barker. “The Skout team has set the safety bar high and we will continue to work diligently to implement the best tools, systems and educational methods.”



Terms of Service Update and a Reminder

With tens of thousands of new users signing onto our app each day, we’re working hard to make the experience of meeting new people as fun and positive as possible.  We want to do this by staying true to our community and maintaining your trust, so we regularly review and update our Terms of Service (TOS). Today we rolled out some updates to the TOS, so that it’s easier to read, more transparent, and fully represents the intended uses of Skout and the character of our community. Importantly, although our Privacy Policy has long declared that Skout does not intend to accept registrations from children under 13, our TOS now explicitly forbids children under 13 from using our service. Skout is designed for two separate communities – adults and teenagers 13 and older – and we’ve made sure to spell that out as clearly as possible in this updated TOS. We encourage you to read the full policy and we welcome your comments.

Related to the TOS changes, we want to remind the community about what is and isn’t allowed on Skout. One of the things that users love most about Skout is that we are all about preserving and re-creating the “magic” of serendipitous meetings, making possible a wide range of social connections from friendship to networking. But while we love to foster serendipity, we aim to take the risk factor out of it. How do we do that? In several different ways:

  • One, we are obsessively focused on keeping our community safe. We have zero tolerance for bad behavior, and we ban about 40,000 devices each month for violations of our standards. Our community managers monitor activity 24/7, using custom-built tools to identify suspicious or inappropriate keywords and behaviors, in partnership with our vigilant users. Every single report from our users is looked at by a real person and addressed in a timely manner.
  • Two, unlike many location-based apps, Skout provides general rather than specific location information, empowering each community member to decide if, when and where to meet in person. Community members never have to reveal any personal information except age and gender. You are in control of your online experience at all times – and we always recommend that users remain anonymous until they feel ready and confident that the person they’ve been chatting with is safe to meet. If you ever feel unsafe or threatened, Skout recommends that you cease communication and report any misbehavior immediately using the Report button or emailing

If you get to the point where you are ready to meet your new Skout friend in person, please refer to our safety tips, that we shared on the Skout blog a few months ago.


You know what really grinds my gears?

Sometimes I just wanna say, O.M. G. Did he really just say that? It should be a criminal offense when a guy lacks game.  It’s sad but we can (try) to help! Viva la (Skout) revolution! Pet peeves, we all got them so let’s dish it out (semi constructively). Let’s give fellow Skouts an insight to what’s annoying as BLEEEEEP so we ALL can avoid them. Deal?

Grrrrrreat. Let’s begin.

Ladies and gents, we all want the same thing. What’s that you ask? A BREATH (or even a gust) OF FRESH AIR!!!  As cliché as it sounds, its BLEEEEEPING true! Unfortunately, I can’t exactly tell you what to say to charm your flirt. Wahhhh! I wish I could. However, I can advise you on what NOT to say. To avoid sounding like a mentally bankrupt douche/douchette, refrain yourself from blurting anything sexual within the first few hummm…seconds!! This happens a whole bunch. More than you know. It’s pretty much the general rule to NOT say something you wouldn’t humanly say to another person’s face. Well, at least not someone you just met?! Remember that you’re hiding behind a screen for goodness sakes so, please please please stop acting all ballsy. It’s definitely not a cute look.

Fellers, would you just mosey on up to a women and say, “Hi. Wanna see my shaaalong?” I hope not! That’s really creepy and in the real world we would call that sexual harassment! I’d run, hide, duck and cover. How haunting would that be?

Anywho, the moral of this story is to HAVE (a tad bit) RESPECT FOR YOURSELF (AND FELLOW USERS). It’ll get you much further than being a total creeper. Self respect is pretty sexy – it demonstrates that you have principles, integrity and a buncha other good stuff. But, that’s just me.

So, Skouts, what are some of the things that grinds your gears? Whether it’s on Skout or just in general, we’d like to hear from you!

Good day, Sheena