Meta improving comment moderation and creator support   

  • Meta has announced new updates to social media platform Facebook, in its attempts to make the platform safer and more supportive of creators.
  • There will now be an option to ‘hide’ unwanted comments on posts and an option to view all hidden comments in a single place by changing the comment filter on posts.
  • A feature called ‘keyword blocking’ will also be available – this will include the automatic hiding of comments with certain words, symbols and emojis.
  • Meta also announced that they are testing a feature called ‘Moderation Assist’, which will allow creators to select from a list of rules to automatically hide certain comments such as links, images, profanity and more.
  • Full story, here.


Roblox criticized for lack of safeguards for children and young people  

  • A YouTube channel, People Make Games, posted a video in August reporting ways that Roblox exploits its user base of children between the ages of 9 and 15.
  • These included a lack of oversight on the small teams that create the games and a culture on the platform against speaking out about managerial wrongdoing as it would count on the developer forums as harassment.
  • The platform releases limited-edition collectibles and hosts a secondary market where users can buy and sell these limited-edition items for real money.
  • Cashing out is difficult and can push young people towards black-market websites to sell collectable items and fall for malware, phishing scams, and hidden fees.
  • People Make Games has accused Roblox of pressuring them to take the report down.
  • For more information on Roblox, click here.
  • Full story, here.


New offences and tighter rules in the Online Safety Bill

  • New criminal offences and changes to the Online Safety Bill have been proposed in the landmark Online Safety Bill.
  • A new report states that scams, the sending of unwanted sexual images, and promoting violence against women and girls should be included as offences.
  • Recommendations call for a range of criminal offences to be created.
  • These would include distributing harmful misinformation, promoting self-harm material, and stirring up violence against others based on gender and disability.
  • The Bill aims to give Ofcom the power in law to set minimum safety standards for the services they will regulate, and to take enforcement action against companies if they don’t comply.
  • Full story, here.


Apple’s latest update introduces some controversial features   

  • The latest iOS update brings new communication safety settings which allow children’s devices to scan images and give warnings if those images contain nudity.
  • The new update will no longer alert parents to nude images sent to their children and will not scan through users’ photo libraries for child sex abuse material (CSAM).
  • Users will be redirected to Apple’s own information when they use Siri or search functions to look for potentially unsafe material.
  • The update also introduces the App Privacy Report which adds an option in the settings for users to see which of their apps have viewed their location, photos, camera, microphone, contacts, network activity and more.
  • Full story, here.

WhatsApp will hide your ‘last seen status from strangers by default   

  • WhatsApp is rolling out a new privacy measure that hides users’ ‘last seen’ status from people they don’t know or haven’t chatted with in the app before.
  • Previously, this feature was set on ‘Everyone’ by default.
  • This new update limits the visibility of your status to the people you‘ve added on the platform and sets the feature to ‘My Contacts’ by default instead.
  • For more information on WhatsApp, read our Online Safety Article, here.
  • Full story, here.

Schools in Scotland will not close early due to Omicron  

  • A total of 186 cases of Omicron have been confirmed across Scotland so far and the Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf, has stated that new restrictions are ‘inevitable’.
  • However, despite Scottish ministers meeting today to discuss these new restrictions, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that the possibility of schools closing early will not be discussed.
  • Sturgeon stated that action needed to be taken to slow the spread of Omicron, however, the priority is to keep schools open safely.
  • This follows calls from numerous teaching unions to close schools to stop staff and pupils being exposed to the variant before mixing during the Christmas holidays.
  • Full story, here.