YOUTUBE KIDS VIDEOS PROMOTE DRUG CULTURE
YouTube’s algorithms promote videos including drug culture and firearms to toddlers, according to an investigation by the Tech Transparency Project (TTP).
The investigation involved creating YouTube Kids accounts at a range of different ages and searching for content on the app.
TTP found evidence of promoted videos which “talk positively about cocaine and crystal meth” and “give instructions on concealing a gun.”
The promoted videos are appearing on the YouTube Kids app, which was designed to restrict the content available to younger audiences.
A YouTube spokesperson told the Guardian: “We built YouTube Kids to create a safer environment for kids to explore their interests and curiosity.
“Upon review we have removed or age-gated a number of the flagged videos from the Kids app.”
TIKTOK TREND LEAVES PUPILS FRETTING ABOUT GOING TO SCHOOL
A new trend amongst young people on TikTok is causing some pupils to be reluctant to go into school, according to a report by Schools Week.
The trend, called “Guess Who,” encourages users to post content which reveals details about the identity of a classmate, some of which includes offensive or intimate information such as “overweight” and “has chlamydia.”
In an investigation, Schools Week found the videos posted by pupils at 7 schools had gained more than 200,000 combined views.
The Association of School and College Leaders will raise the problem with TikTok.
TikTok said it would remove videos which violate its bullying and harassment policies.
20 MILLION INSTAGRAM USERS SEE EATING DISORDER CONTENT
As many as 20 million Instagram users could be hit by pro-anorexia content as a result of the app’s recommendation algorithm, according to a study by children’s advocacy group, Fairplay.
There are around 90,000 pro-eating disorder accounts on Instagram, Fairplay estimates suggest. The accounts publish content which “encourage restrictive diets” and promote “thinspiration” including “positive imagery of extremely underweight people,” according to the study.
The content is being promoted to children as young as 13 via recommendations generated by the platform’s algorithm. Children as young as 9 or 10 were found to be following the accounts.
“Having achieved recovery of [sic] an eating disorder and currently actively working to better my relationship with my body, I can say that at this point whenever I see Instagram or TikTok recommend this kind of content, I immediately tell Instagram to not show me this kind of content and I’m able to move on,” High School student, Kelsey, told the study. “I have to take active steps to stop the algorithm recommending this content – Instagram pushes me towards this content, and I have to actively pull myself away from it.”
GOOGLE ALLOWS USERS TO REMOVE DETAILS FROM SEARCH RESULTS
People can now remove personal contact information from Google search results such as addresses, email address and phone numbers, thanks to a policy change by the company.
Users can make a request to Google to remove a search result if they find personal contact information about them within it. However, the details themselves won’t be taken down if they appear on an external website.
It follows concerns raised over harms caused by doxxing, where people seek to find and reveal information about an individual online for malicious intent, such as to bully, harass or con them.
“Maximizing access to information while empowering people to be in control of their sensitive, personally identifiable information is a critical balance to strike,” said Michelle Chang, Google search global policy lead.
“We believe these updates are an important step to deliver on that goal and give people the tools they need to protect their safety and privacy online.”
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