Wednesday 26th May 2021

Social media influencers paid to discredit vaccines 

  • A PR agency with alleged links to Russia has offered “considerable” amounts of money to European social media influencers if they discredit the Pfizer vaccine on their social media channels, it has emerged. 
  • Leo Grasset, a French YouTuber with 1.1 million subscribers, was among those approached to take part in the smear campaign. 
  • Someone reportedly working for an advertising agency called Fazze offered him a lucrative deal to post content criticising the Pfizer vaccine. 
  • In particular, he was asked to promote the false claim that “the mortality rate of the Pfizer vaccine is 3 times greater than the AstraZeneca” in a 45- to 60- second video.
  • For the full story, select here

Tom Cruise Deepfake goes viral  

  • A ‘scarily authentic-looking new deep fake video of Tom Cruise showing the 58-year-old Mission Impossible actor addressing the Tik Tok community about industrial clean-up has become a viral sensation. 
  • The deep fake says: “I do a lot of my stunts, but I also do a lot of industrial clean up. It’s important. So, obviously, you keep your hands clean but you really need that exfoliating product to cut through the grind.” 
  • This video represents a large step forward in the push to make increasingly more realistic Deepfake videos. 
  • Many online safety experts including those at INEQE Safeguarding Group consider the development of Deepfake technology to be a child safeguarding nightmare and carry other risks such as the spread of misinformation.  
  • For the full story, select here
  • To learn more about Deepfakes, select here

Inquiry into vulnerable children continues with questioning 

  • Charities and children’s services experts will be questioned by the House of Lords Public Services Committee this week (Wednesday 26 May from 3.00 p.m.)  
  • This questioning acts to inform the inquiry into vulnerable children and public services.
  • The committee will hear from: 
  • Catherine Roche, Chief Executive, Place2Be 
  • David Carney-Haworth OBE, Founder, Operation Encompass 
  • Elisabeth Carney-Haworth OBE, Co-Creator, Operation Encompass 
  • Lucy Heller, Chief Executive, Absolute Return for Kids – ARK
  • For the full story, select here

Department for Education failed to deal with pandemic 

  • The Department for Education had no plan for dealing with a pandemic and failed to set standards for remote learning during lockdown, leading to “unequal experiences” for many children, according to a critical report by MPs. 
  • Parliament’s public accounts committee also said there was evidence that the government’s £1.7bn catch-up programme – designed to restore the learning lost during school closures – may not be connecting with many of the most disadvantaged children.  
  • The committee’s report describes the DfE as having “worthy aspirations but little specific detail”. 
  • Meg Hillier, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, said: “The pandemic has further exposed a very ugly truth about the children living in poverty and disadvantage, who have been hit particularly hard.”
  • For the full story, select here

School attendance dropping in England amid concerns of new Indian Covid-19 variant

  • School attendance in England has dropped in the past week amid concerns about the Indian coronavirus variant, government figures show. 
  • Just over nine in 10 (91%) state school pupils were in class on May 20, down from 92% on May 12, according to the Department for Education (DfE) statistics. 
  • Approximately 87% of secondary school pupils attended last week, down from 89% on the previous week, while attendance in primary schools fell to 94% last week, from 95% on May 12. 
  • The data suggest that 82,000 pupils were out of class and self-isolating on Thursday last week due to potential contact with a case of coronavirus, compared to 65,000 the previous week. 
  • The figures come after the Government removed the requirement for secondary school and college pupils in England to wear face coverings in class despite worries about the Indian variant of the virus.
  • For the full story, select here