Thursday 24th of June 2021

 Social media platforms must do more to combat harmful content – safety campaigner

  • Social media platforms must stop making excuses and start taking more steps to combat harmful content on their services, online safety campaigner Ian Russell has said. 
  • Mr Russell, whose daughter Molly took her own life in 2017 after viewing harmful content on social media, said the likes of Facebook and Instagram had a responsibility to tackle online harms rather than waiting for government regulation. 
  • Speaking to BBC Breakfast as part of a new online safety awareness campaign he is backing, Mr Russell criticised platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, which have argued that while they have increased staff numbers working in safety and security in recent years, they need more government regulation, so they do not have to make content decisions alone.
  • For the full story, select here.

Children’s rights group creates collection of ‘toys’ to raise awareness of dangers faced online

  • A  children’s rights group has created a range of mock toys that highlight the abuse children face online. 
  • Campaign group 5Rights launched Twisted Toys to highlight how abuse that happens online would not be tolerated offline. 
  • The toys aren’t real but were created for the campaign to show the dangers. 
  • The items include a Share Bear that collects and shares a child’s data and a Pocket Troll that scrutinises their activity and bombards them with horrible comments.
  • For the full story, select here.

    Online Safety Bill ‘catastrophic for free speech’ 

    • The draft Online Safety Bill harms free speech and hands policing the internet to Silicon Valley, a new campaign claims. 
    • The Legal to Say. Legal to Type campaign says if it becomes law, US tech firms would gain too much power. 
    • The draft bill places new duties on social media firms to remove harmful or illegal content. 
    • The government has said firms should have safeguards to ensure freedom of speech. 
    • These would include effective routes for people who have had their content removed to appeal against any decision.
    • For the full story, select here

      DfE considering ‘accelerated inspections’ to help Ofsted tackle Covid backlog 

      • Gavin Williamson MP has revealed the government wants to accelerate the timetable for Ofsted inspections to address the backlog of schools due a visit. 
      • The education secretary was questioned by the Parliamentary Education Committee on Wednesday on the possibility of speeding up the process for schools left waiting for inspections, which were suspended when Covid hit last year. 
      • David Johnston, the Conservative MP for Wantage, explained that some schools in his constituency were “living on an old Ofsted judgement where they know they’ve improved, and it would help their admissions if they could show that improvement”. 
      • Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman appeared before the committee last week and raised concerns about the length of time between inspections for “outstanding” schools.
      • For the full story, select here

        County Lines gang trafficked schoolboy from Tottenham to Wales to sell drugs 

        • A ‘County Lines’ drug gang were caught after trafficking a 15-year-old schoolboy from London to South Wales to sell cocaine and heroin, a court has heard. 
        • The gang’s operation unravelled after a missing person’s report was filed on the Tottenham teenager, leading police to Swansea where he was operating as a drugs courier. 
        • Six members of the crime group have now been convicted of Class A drugs supply and human trafficking charges and face lengthy jail terms. 
        • They operated two dedicated phone lines for orders, nicknamed ‘Gino’ and ‘Gino 2’, selling drugs in London and South Wales between January and October last year. 
        • For the full story, select here
        • To learn more about County Lines, select here