Friday 2nd July 2021

TikTok removes millions of suspected underage accounts 

  • TikTok removed nearly 7.3 million accounts suspected to belong to underage children in the first quarter of this year. 
  • The video-sharing platform said the profiles accounted for fewer than 1% of global users. 
  • Children aged 13 and over are allowed to use the platform, which is highly popular with teenagers. 
  • This is the first time TikTok has published such figures in a Community Guidelines Enforcement Report. 
  • It said it hoped the detail about underage users will “help the industry push forward when it comes to transparency and accountability around user safety”.
  • For the full story, and more.

    Children called Alexa being bullied

    • Parents of children called Alexa say their daughters are being bullied because it is the same name that Amazon uses for its virtual assistant.
    • Some have even changed their child’s name because they say the barrage of Alexa jokes is “relentless”.
    • They are calling on Amazon to change the default wake word for its devices to a non-human name.
    • Amazon says it is “saddened” by these accounts, and that alternative wake words are available.
    • For the full story, select here.

    Women call on social media companies for online protection

    • More than 200 high-profile women have signed an open letter asking for concrete action to tackle abuse on social media platforms.
    • The letter – signed by women including former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard, ex-US tennis player Billie Jean King and British actresses Thandiwe Newton and Emma Watson – has been published at the UN Generation Equality Forum.
    • Ms Gillard told the BBC: “As prime minister of Australia, like other women in the public domain, I regularly received highly gendered and ugly social media, including the circulation of pornographic cartoons.”
    • She added that it made her “angry and frustrated that woman still face this kind of abuse”.
    • The letter was addressed to the chief executives of Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter, and asked them to “urgently prioritise the safety of women on your platforms”.
    • For the full story, select here.

      Funding for deprived schools in England has shifted to wealthy areas, study finds

      • Government promises to level-up funding in education have resulted in money being shifted away from schoolsin the most disadvantaged areas and invested in pupils in more prosperous areas of England, according to the official parliamentary spending watchdog.
      • A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) found average per-pupil funding in the most deprived fifth of schools fell in real terms by 1.2% between 2017-18 and 2020-21, while it increased by 2.9% in the least deprived fifth.
      • It follows the implementation of the government’s new national funding formula in 2018-19 which introduced a minimum level of per pupil funding across England, triggering increased payments to schools in wealthier areas of the country with traditionally lower funding levels and leaving schools in cities with high levels of deprivation worse off.
      • For the full story, select here.

        Facebook confirms tests of a new anti-extremism warning prompt

        • Facebook is testing prompts that will link users to anti-extremism support and resources if the company believes the user knows someone who could be on the path to extremism, or if the user has been exposed to extremist content themselves, according to a report by CNN Business.
        • In a statement to The Verge, a Facebook spokesperson said that the test is part of the company’s “larger work to assess ways to provide resources and support to people on Facebook who may have engaged with or were exposed to extremist content or may know someone who is at risk.”
        • Facebook says that it’ll continue to remove extremist content that violates its rules, though the company has had issues tracking down and removing similar content, even from groups that it’s actively tried to kick off the platform.
        • Facebook has long been the subject of scrutiny from the public and lawmakers, as many say that its algorithms divide people and push them towards extreme ideologies, something the company has itself recognized.
        • For the full story, select here.