Loan sharks are using social media to extort victims 

  • Local WhatsApp groups have been one of the silver linings of the pandemic, creating community ties and support networks. 
  • However, loan sharks are increasingly using these groups to extort money from their victims, according to England’s Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), an organisation that prosecutes illegal lenders and supports victims. 
  • Such lenders are also targeting their victims online – the IMLT’s 2020 victim statistics report shows that one in 10 victims met the loan shark via social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook, or through dating websites. 
  • Criminals are also creating their own WhatsApp and Facebook groups that appear to be for local communities but are actually ways to maintain control over their victims, according to Tony Quigley, the head of the IMLT. 
  • For the full story, select here.

    TikTok unveils new features 

    • TikTok announced two new integrations for its app on Thursday: sharing audio back into TikTok using the new Sound Kit, and using your TikTok account to log in to other apps with Login Kit.  
    • Developers can apply to use the new Software Development Kit (SDK) to insert the short-form video app’s content in even more places, but they may open the company and its users to new privacy concerns. 
    • The basic features of a login kit are familiar -Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat already offer similar Login Kit integrations to speed up the logging in process (for example: click here to login with Facebook) 
    • The new Sound Kit allows developers to share audio between their apps and TikTok, so if you make a particularly great mix in another app, you can start using it in your TikTok videos.
    • For the full story, select here

    Clubhouse comes to Android after more than a year of iOS exclusivity 

    • After more than a year of iOS exclusivity, social audio platform Clubhouse is releasing its Android app.  
    • It will be available in beta on Google’s mobile Operating System today in the US, allowing users to sign up and participate in its audio-only chat rooms. 
    • “Our plan over the next few weeks is to collect feedback from the community, fix any issues we see and work to add a few final features like payments and club creation before rolling it out more broadly,” the company said in a blog post. 
    • The Android app, which the company says has been the top request from its community by far, will roll out to other English-speaking markets and the rest of the world in the days and weeks ahead, the company said.  
    • Users outside the US will be able to pre-register for access via the Clubhouse page in the Google Play store, to be notified when the Android app is available in their area. 
    • For the full story, select here.  


      Teacher struck off over ‘inappropriate’ texts to boy 

      • A teacher has been banned from the profession after sending “inappropriate” texts to a boy.
      • The accused, who was Deputy Headteacher at Grange Community Junior School in Farnborough, also failed to raise safeguarding concerns, a professional conduct panel found. 
      • The Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA) panel said the texts also included a “paedophile hunter” video.
      • He is now barred from teaching indefinitely in England. 
      • The teacher, who had 27 years of experience, resigned from his post in December 2019 following an investigation by the school.
      • For the full story, select here

        More people under 16 being arrested for drug dealing 

        • A boy aged12 was arrested on suspicion of heroin dealing amid fears gangs lure kids by using methods like those of online sexual predators. 
        • The boy was one of nearly 2,000 under-16s picked up by police for alleged drug dealing last year. 
        • Older members of county lines gangs expand their trade by sending drugs from cities to suburbs with children – who look less suspicious and get lighter penalties if caught. 
        • Britain’s top county lines police officer Tim Champion said: “The grooming techniques now being used by county lines gangs are similar to what we see in online sexual exploitation of children.
        • For the full story, select here
        • To learn more about County Lines, read our recent article here.