NSPCC accuses Facebook of ‘sitting on its hands’ over child safety

  • The NSPCC alleges that children have been allowed to suffer while Facebook has refused to cooperate with government and child protection advocates.
  • Sir Peter Wanless, chief executive of the charity, said the social network’s lack of transparency meant that child protection campaigners have to rely on testimonies of whistle-blowers such as Frances Haugen.
  • This follows the findings of Instagram’s effects on the mental health of young people, particularly teenage girls.
  • Around 24 grooming offences are recorded on Facebook’s platforms by police every single week, according to research by the NSPCC.
  • This represents more than 5,100 instances where Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were used to abuse children in England and Wales since 2017.
  • Full story, here.


Cyber-attack hits UK internet phone providers

  • An “unprecedented” and co-ordinated cyber-attack has struck multiple UK-based providers of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services.
  • Popular VoIP services include WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
  • Industry body Comms Council UK said several of its members had been targeted by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in recent weeks.
  • DDoS attacks work by flooding a website or online service with internet traffic to throw it offline or make it inaccessible.
  • VoIP providers offer internet-based calls to a range of customers, including businesses as well as public services, including the police and NHS.
  • The Comms Council UK are liaising with the UK government, Ofcom, and the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) over the matter.
  • Full story, here.


Rising number of anti-vaccine protesters ‘willing to take direct action against schools’

  • Experts have warned that there are substantial numbers of people influenced by vaccine misinformation that are willing to take direct action against schools administering vaccines.
  • This follows findings from the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) that nearly 80% of schools surveyed by the union had been targeted by anti-vaccine protestors.
  • Keir Starmer calls for councils to be allowed to use exclusion orders to protect schools and warns that the broader problem is being driven by groups organised on social media.
  • Schools have been targeted through emails threatening legal action, and in some cases, with physical harm. Some protesters have also gained access to school sites.
  • Labour is calling for the expedited implementation of public spaces protection orders [PSPOs] to prevent the harassment and intimidation of children outside schools.
  • Full story, here.


Climate crisis education should be embedded in education system

  • Four unions representing school, college and university staff call for climate crisis education to be fully embedded in the education system.
  • Leaders of the National Education Union (NEU), NASUWT, the University and College Union (UCU) and Unison signed the letter.
  • A joint letter to the education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, calls for a review of the curriculum to ensure everyone is mobilised for a “sustainable future”.
  • This follows results of a global survey illustrating high levels of anxiety among young people and the rising referral numbers for ‘eco-anxiety’ by psychiatrists.
  • The unions are calling for important measures to be embedded in the education system out of concern that the government has yet to grasp the gravity of the situation.
  • The letter also urges ministers to introduce a comprehensive plan to “de-carbonise the entire school estate by 2030” as part of an overdue refurbishment and repair programme.
  • Full story, here.