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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.

Crumbling concrete: First case of Raac found in Northern Ireland 

  • Collapse-prone concrete has been found at a south Belfast primary school.
  • Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) has been found in more than 170 schools and colleges in England, however, initial surveys did not find any trace in Northern Ireland.
  • The Department of Education (DE) said engineers confirmed Raac was found in an eight-classroom block at the primary school, which has been deemed “unsafe for continued use.”
  • Parents of the affected children have been informed.
  • Claire Hanna, MP for Belfast South, described the discovery as concerning and stated: “We need to deal with this at pace to ensure that there is minimal interruption to the education of these kids.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.