Tuesday 20th July

Instagram ‘pushes weight-loss messages to teenagers’

  • Instagram’s algorithms are pushing teenage girls who even briefly engage with fitness-related images towards a flood of weight-loss content, according to new research which aimed to recreate the experience of being a child on social networks. 
  • Researchers set up a series of Instagram profiles mirroring real children and began liking a handful of posts to see how quickly the network’s algorithm pushed potentially damaging material into the site’s “explore” tab, which highlights material that the social network thinks a user might like. 
  • The researchers found the explore feed suddenly began to feature substantially more content relating to weight loss journeys and tips, exercise, and body sculpting. The material often featured “noticeably slim and, in some cases, seemingly edited/distorted body shapes”.
  • For the full story and more, select here.

Woman who found video of herself on Pornhub creates app to help other victims 

  • A Chinese woman who discovered a video of herself had been uploaded on the adult website Pornhub without her knowledge has founded an app for victims of non-consensual image-based abuse. 
  • The 25-year-old found out about the video of herself, which was recorded without her knowledge, on the porn website after her friend alerted her. She is now working with a team to create an AI-based app to help women find content with their faces online. 
  • The app, Alecto AI, named after a Greek goddess of fury, who punishes those who commit moral crimes, works by scanning users’ faces and then searching for their images online.
  • For the full story, select here.

Report finds social media is recommending graphic content to children   

  • Social media accounts linked to children were “directly targeted” with graphic content within as little as 24 hours of being created, a new report into online safety says. 
  • It says accounts created for the study based on real children as young as 13 were served content around eating disorders, self-harm and sexualised images. 
  • The study from the children’s safety group the 5Rights Foundation and the children’s commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, said the research was “alarming and upsetting” and called for mandatory rules to be introduced on how online services are designed. 
  • For the full story, select here.

Snap buys another company to make AR shopping a reality 

  • The parent company of Snapchat has bought Vertebrae, a company that lets brands create and manage 3D versions of their goods.  
  • Vertebrae’s team will keep developing the platform for existing and new clients, according to a Snap spokesperson.  
  • The app is built on the notion that a company can easily upload visuals and other information about an item into Vertebrae and have a 3D version made for shoppers to access, and potentially buy directly, within Snapchat. 
  • While Snap first used its augmented reality tech for novelty effects like puking rainbows and dancing hotdogs, the company increasingly sees AR as a way to shop.  
  • Early tests of AR shopping experiences, such as a recent collaboration with Gucci to let people virtually try on a pair of limited-edition shoes, have shown Snap that people are more likely to buy something after they interact with it in 3D.
  • For the full story, select here.

Premier League footballer arrested on suspicion of child sex offences 

  • A Premier League footballer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been arrested on suspicion of child sex offences. 
  • The 31-year-old man was arrested on Friday and has been bailed while Manchester police continue to investigate. 
  • The player’s team confirmed he has been suspended pending the police investigation. 
  • They added: “The club will continue to support the authorities with their inquiries and will not be making any further statement at this time.”
  • For the full story, select here.