Snapchat to introduce family safety tools to protect minors using its app

  • Snapchat is introducing its own set of “family engagement” tools in the coming months.
  • This will function as a family centre, giving parents better visibility into how teens are using its service.
  • These new features aim to give parents better insights to help protect their children and help them navigate the digital world safely.
  • This follows the appointment of a Global Head of Platform Safety, Jacqueline Beauchere last month and the launch of features to stop drug sales on Snapchat.
  • Other platforms like Instagram, TikTok and YouTube have made several updates aimed at increasing the safety and wellbeing of young users.
  • Full story, here.

ICO to step in after schools use facial recognition to speed up lunch queues

  • The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is set to intervene after concerns were raised about facial recognition technology in school canteens in the UK.
  • Last week, nine schools in North Ayrshire began taking payments for school lunches using facial recognition software, and 13 more schools are to follow.
  • The ICO will be contacting the North Ayrshire council about the use of the software and has urged that a “less intrusive” approach should be used where possible.
  • An ICO spokesperson claimed that organisations using facial recognition technology must comply with data protection law before, during and after its use.
  • Organisations must carefully consider the necessity and proportionality of collecting biometric data before they do so.
  • The use of facial recognition was defended as being more COVID-secure and quicker than other systems (like fingerprint scanning).
  • Full story, here.


Trump to launch new social media platform TRUTH Social

  • Former US President Donald Trump plans to launch a new social media network called TRUTH Social.
  • He claims that the platform will “stand up to the tyranny of big tech”.
  • Social media was pressured to ban Donald Trump throughout his presidency due to his posts being criticised as insulting, inflammatory, and encouraging misinformation.
  • Facebook and Twitter deleted some of his posts and labelled them as misleading. Trump was eventually banned from both platforms after the 2020 US elections.
  • TRUTH Social will release an early version for guests next month and is scheduled for a wider rollout in the first three months of 2022.
  • Trump criticises social media for “silencing conservative voices”, despite Facebook data showing that figures like Ben Shapiro and right-wing news outlets perform well on the site.
  • Full story, here.

DfE must ‘urgently’ publish SEND review

  • School leaders are urging the Department for Education (DfE) to publish its ongoing special education needs and disabilities (SEND) review after repeated delays during the pandemic.
  • The SEND review was launched by former education secretary Gavin Williamson over two years ago and was delayed several times.
  • The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) SEND council chair claims that “the government needs to start implementing the changes required to address long-standing systemic shortcomings”.
  • The DFE previously declined to provide a date for when they expected the review to be concluded in response to questions by MPs on the Commons Education Select Committee.
  • The Commons Education Select Committee claims that the poor implementation of SEND reforms has left children, young people and families in crisis and put councils and schools under pressure.
  • Full story, here.