Instagram to require all users to enter birthdate

  • Instagram will require all users to enter their birthdate before using the app as part of its efforts to introduce a child-safe experience for users under 18.
  • This requirement has been introduced just two days before the UK is due to begin enforcing the age-appropriate design code.
  • This code requires companies to identify child users and take special efforts to safeguard their personal data, limit attempts to influence their behaviour, and prioritise wellbeing.
  • New users have been required to enter their birthdate as part of the sign-up process for the app since 2019 but existing users will now be prompted to give their age upon opening the app.
  • Dismissing the above prompt will cause Instagram to blur posts that are marked as sensitive.
  • The platform plans to use the information to help protect younger users by continuing to default safety settings for users under 16, but these measures rely on a user being truthful about their age.
  • Full story, here.

Met Police warned it could be putting children at risk

  • The Met Police has been warned it could put children in danger because of the way it investigates online abuse.
  • The police watchdog report gave praise for the increasing number of staff managing registered sex offenders and the better recognition of the needs of vulnerable children coming into police custody.
  • However, the report found that investigations into the viewing and sharing of indecent images of children did not focus quickly enough on identifying at-risk children and protecting them.
  • Other concerns included delays in the uploading of images to a national child abuse database, delays in the forensic examination of electronic devices and lack of staff training or experience for such investigations.
  • According to the report these findings “potentially leave children at risk”.
  • Full story, here.

Twitch streamers protest hate raids and abuse in #ADayOffTwitch

  • Several channels on Twitch will go dark today as streamers participate in #ADayOffTwitch.
  • This walkout has been designed to bring attention to the ongoing hate and harassment that’s plagued the platform for the last several weeks.
  • The walkout was created by Twitch streamers ShineyPen, Lucia Everblack, and RekitRaven to bring greater awareness to the problems creators are suffering on Twitch.
  • The abuse comes takes place as ‘raids’ where users will ‘bomb’ a streamer’s chat with racist, sexist, transphobic, and generally abusive messages and while not new, this phenomenon has seen a dramatic increase.
  • You can find our Twitch Safety Card here.
  • Full story, here.

Facebook is expanding its plans to put less politics in the News Feed

  • Facebook is expanding an experiment that aims to reduce political content on the News Feed to four new countries
  • The platform says it’s seen “positive results” in reducing this content for some users in a handful of countries.
  • The platform plans to emphasise “inspiring and uplifting” content.
  • In a previous blog post in February, the company revealed positive results for its first wave of these experiments in Canada, Brazil, the US, and Indonesia and is now expanding the test to Costa Rica, Sweden, Spain, and Ireland.
  • This experiment follows heated debates over what kinds of interactions matter most on Facebook and findings that political (and largely right-wing) content dominates people’s interactions on the platform.
  • Full story, here.