Extremists using online gaming and COVID-19 conspiracies to recruit young people

  • Right-wing extremists are using online gaming and COVID-19 conspiracy theories to recruit young people.
  • Home Office figures show twice as many young people in education in England and Wales last year were considered at risk of radicalisation by right-wing extremist groups, compared with those at risk from Islamic extremists.
  • New figures from the government’s Prevent anti-extremism programme, show that 310 people were referred to Prevent by schools, colleges and universities.
  • 157 people were referred because of vulnerability to Islamic extremism.
  • Almost one in three cases involving far-right extremism was passed on to the government’s Channel safeguarding scheme.
  • Full story, here.


US states investigate Instagram for ‘wreaking havoc’ on teens’ mental health

  • A coalition of US state Attorneys General have opened an investigation into Facebook for promoting Instagram to children despite the company’s own awareness of its potential harms.
  • The investigation involves at least eight states, as Meta (previously known as Facebook) faces increasing criticism over its approach to children and young adults.
  • Recently leaked documents show that the company’s internal research described Instagram as negatively affecting teen mental health, particularly about body image.
  • The investigation will cover whether the company violated consumer protection laws and put young people at risk.
  • Full story, here.


Six million Sky routers had serious security flaws

  • A security company has revealed almost 6 million Sky routers had a serious software bug that could have allowed hackers to take over home networks.
  • Research says that the issue has been fixed but Sky took 18 months to address it.
  • The issue may have affected anyone who had not changed the router’s default admin password.
  • This follows a discovery earlier this year that an insecure Vodafone router with a default password may have allowed a stranger to take over a couple’s Wi-fi and use it to upload illegal images of child abuse to the internet.
  • Full story, here.


Facebook tests giving more control of News Feed content to users

  • Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said it is testing new ways for users to customise the content they see in their News Feeds.
  • The company said on Thursday that the test is available to a “small percentage” of users to start.
  • These controls would allow people to adjust their preferences to increase or reduce the amount of content they see from specific friends, family, groups, and pages they’re connected with.
  • This follows several modifications to the way Facebook presents News Feed content in the past several years.
  • Full story, here.

Schools in England told to limit uniform costs

  • According to new government rules, parents in England must be allowed to buy some uniform items from High Street shops.
  • Second-hand items should be made available while the cost of branded uniform must be kept to a minimum.
  • In 2015, government research showed that parents could save an average of almost £50 if they bought all uniform items from High Street shops instead of designated suppliers.
  • The new statutory advice strengthens the obligation for schools to reduce uniform costs at a time of increases to the cost of living and child poverty.
  • Full story, here.