TECH FIRMS MUST KEEP WOMEN SAFER ONLINE, OFCOM SAYS
Tech firms must do more to ensure women feel safe when using their platforms, UK media regulator Ofcom has warned.
Women were 9% less likely than men to feel confident that they won’t come to online harm, a study by Ofcom found, while women were 8% less likely to agree that the benefits of being online outweigh the risks.
Women are heavier users than men among 7 of the top 10 social media platforms and tend to spend around half an hour per day longer than men using social media platforms.
The research also found that women were more likely than men to be exposed to content relating to self-harm or suicide, misinformation, and content depicting suicide.
“The message from women who go online is loud and clear…They are less confident about their personal online safety, and feel the negative effects of harmful content like trolling more deeply,” said Ofcom CEO, Dame Melanie Dawes.
“We urge tech companies to take women’s online safety concerns seriously and place people’s safety at the heart of their services.”
GAMBLERS SWITCHING TO CRYPTOCURRENCY SUFFER HUGE LOSSES
Advisors at gambling helpline GamCare saw a noticeable increase in calls from people who have stopped gambling and are registered on self-exclusion sites but are now investing in cryptocurrency instead.
Callers reported making huge losses on investments and wanted to speak to an advisor about the guilt they were feeling from losing money.
GamCare had also taken calls from young people who invested in cryptocurrency to try to get onto the property ladder, particularly in areas where housing is expensive, but ultimately have lost large amounts to it and have needed to seek help.
In May, crypto token Luna collapsed, causing investors to lose a combined $40 billion, while the price of Bitcoin has fallen 40% since its peak in November.
Matt Zarb-Cousin, founder of gambling site blocking service Gamban told the Evening Standard: “These platforms are geared towards overtrading: getting people to constantly change position, put more money in and chase losses — all of the characteristics associated with gambling harm.
“I think the Financial Conduct Authority does need to get to grips with what counts as investing and what counts as speculating, and I think it’s incumbent on regulators to provide adequate information to consumers.”
It comes after consumer groups from 18 European countries backed a report by the Norwegian Consumer Council which called for greater regulation of loot boxes, a form of gambling found in online games where users pay money to receive random in-game content that isn’t revealed until after purchase.
The report found that the sale and presentation of loot boxes “often involves exploiting consumers,” including by “exploiting cognitive biases and vulnerabilities through deceptive design and “using aggressive marketing practices to push sales at every opportunity.”
The report calls for a ban on video game companies using deceptive design to exploit consumers. It argues that in-game purchases should always be denominated in real-world currency, while games likely to be accessed by minors must not offer loot boxes.
LLOYDS BANK ISSUES SCAM WARNING
The UK’s largest bank has issued a warning over “advance fee fraud” after it saw a surge in the number of customers falling victim to the scam.
As part of the scam, users are encouraged to enter their details into a website posing as a loan provider before being contacted by a scammer asking for an upfront payment of funds.
It’s thought the scam is targeting customers who have been unable to obtain loans through mainstream providers.
Lloyds urged customers to be vigilant when receiving unsolicited correspondence from financial institutions.
Timothy Campbell, of cybersecurity firm Mimecast, told the Telegraph: “There is no doubt that scammers are taking advantage of the cost-of-living crisis, as those in desperate times are less likely to conduct proper checks if they can get some desperately needed money easily.”
DORRIES RELEASES TIKTOK RAP TO EXPLAIN ONLINE SAFETY BILL
Nadine Dorries has taken to TikTok to explain the government’s Online Safety Bill in the form of a rap.
The Culture Secretary’s rap begins: “The UK is passing some new legislation, to make the internet safer for the younger generation.
“It’s effectively a framework to protect internet users from scams, illegal content and anonymous abusers.” The 41-second video, which was shot in Dorries’ office, has so far amassed over 21,000 views on the platform. Dorries finished the video with a mic drop.
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