YOUNG INSTAGRAM USERS TO TAKE A BREAK
Children on Instagram will be prompted to take a break after using the app for a prolonged period of time, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs Nick Clegg has announced.
The new feature is part of a range of measures developed as part of a bid by Facebook to improve user experience for young people. Other measures include “nudging” teenagers when they repeatedly view content that might threaten their wellbeing, and parental controls for supervision of online activity.
“We cannot, with a wave of the wand, make everyone’s life perfect. What we can do is improve our products, so that our products are as safe and as enjoyable to use,” Clegg told the CNN State of the Union show.
The announcement comes as Facebook comes under increasing pressure from campaign groups to make its apps and platforms safer for younger users.
One campaign group led by the NSPCC has sent a letter to Facebook Chief Executive, Mark Zuckerberg, requesting that the social media giant publish its research and risk assessments into the effects that its platforms have on younger users.
The group also say that Facebook should review the impact that message encryption may have on children who use the site, as well as set out research on the platform’s contribution to child sexual abuse.
“We cannot continue with a situation in which children’s needs are or appear to be secondary to commercial motivations, and in which young people’s right to safety, privacy and wellbeing is traded-off to prioritise the interests of adults and other more influential drivers,” the letter states.
BRITAIN ‘GLOBAL EPICENTRE’ OF ONLINE BANK FRAUD
Britain has become the ‘global epicentre’ of online bank fraud, according to the UK’s top banks.
Over £750 million has been stolen in the first six months of 2021, which represents about three times the level of fraud seen in the US on a per capita basis, an analysis by Reuters found.
“The UK is the hotbed of activity for fraudsters. Currently the UK accounts for about 80% of our global personal fraud losses,” an HSBC spokesperson told Reuters.
The level of sophistication and plausibility of cyber fraud continues to increase, with some fraudsters building up a relationship with victims over a period of years before they eventually seize large sums of money. Combined with multiple recent instances of data breaches at large-scale companies, the number of fraud attacks has reached record levels.
As part of efforts to combat the worrying trend, a public-private partnership known as the Online Fraud Steering Group has been set up, chaired by representatives from UK Finance, the National Economic Crime Centre and techUK.
The group says they want to find collaborative cross-industry solutions to combat online fraud and “render the UK the least attractive place for online fraudsters to operate.”
CONCERNS RAISED OVER ‘DRY SCOOPING’ TREND
Doctors have been alerted to the dangers of a new fitness trend known as ‘dry scooping’ in which gym-goers swallow powdered supplements dry, ignoring guidance to mix them with water.
Researchers at Northwell Health in New York analysed 100 TikTok videos containing the hashtag ‘preworkout’ and found that over 30% of them promoted the dry scooping practice. The trend has amassed over 8 million social media likes.
The practice of swallowing the powder dry results in the supplements being absorbed into the body much quicker than normal and can cause dangerous side-effects such as heart palpitations. Inhaling the powder by mistake can lead to infection or even pneumonia.
According to the research, “users were at extremely high risk of overconsumption or accidental inhalation of pre-workout powder” and the social media phenomenon could “pose risks to children of respiratory or cardiovascular distress or death.”
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