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November 30, 2023

Molly Russell: Tech firms still failing after teenager’s death, says father 

  • Social media companies are still pushing “harmful content to literally millions of young people”, Molly Russell’s father, Ian has said.
  • He said he is horrified by the scale of the issue and that “little has changed” since Molly took her life aged 14, and fears more lives could be lost.
  • New research from the Molly Rose Foundation shows young users can still access suicide and self-harm content.
  • The sites subject to the research by the foundation set up in Molly’s name – TikTok, Instagram and Pinterest, said they had created new tools to limit access to harmful material.
  • A researcher from the foundation evaluated more than 1,000 individual posts and videos, identified from searching 15 hashtags associated with harmful material and that Molly was known to engage with.
  • Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan reported: “It is despicable and indefensible that social media companies are still turning a blind eye to the scale of horrendous suicide and self-harm content on their platforms.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Amazon latest tech giant to announce AI chatbot 

  • Amazon said that the bot, called Q, would help businesses to do things like summarise long documents or group chats and would increase productivity.
  • The bot can answer customer queries, generate chats, analyse data and help businesses with their coding needs.
  • Amazon also said it would protect companies from copyright issues arising from the use of its bot, which comes after the lawsuit brought by comedian Sarah Silverman against OpenAI and Facebook-owner Meta in July.
  • Ms Silverman and two other authors claimed their books had been “ingested and used to train ChatGPT” and that Meta’s Llama AI system was also using their work.
  • Much of Silverman’s lawsuit was dismissed, however, other authors including Margaret Atwood and Phillip Pullman have also called on AI companies to compensate them for using their work.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

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Ruth Perry: Inquest hears head felt humiliated after Ofsted inspection

  • Mrs Perry who had been a head teacher for 13 years, took her own life in January while awaiting Ofsted’s report.
  • Ofsted downgraded the school to inadequate after the visit.
  • Mr Perry said his wife was “in a terrible state and couldn’t be comforted” in a statement heard at the inquest into Mrs Perry’s death.
  • The inquest heard that a few days after the inspection, Mrs Perry told Nicola Leroy, the school business manager, she had thought about taking her own life.
  • Mrs Leroy advised her to contact her GP immediately, and with Mrs Perry’s permission contacted the local authority and the chair of governors.
  • As a head teacher, Mr Perry said she was “close to burn-out at times” but generally she was “resilient and positive” for a job and school “which she loved.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Childcare providers welcome £400m funding but say more support needed 

  • The Department for Education (DfE) has also announced an increase in funding rates for nursery places.
  • Providers called it a “welcome increase” but said demand for places could soon outstrip capacity.
  • It was intended to help 60,000 more parents of young children back into the workforce.
  • Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said the government was “making sure parents no longer have to choose between a career and a family.”
  • Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) associate director Christine Farquharson reported that the sector was facing a real-terms cut even with the extra funding.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.