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December 15, 2023

Ofcom investigates TikTok over parental control information

  • Ofcom has opened an investigation into whether TikTok gave “inaccurate” information about its parental controls.
  • The regulator asked for more information on its Family Pairing System and had “reason to believe that the information it provided was inaccurate.”
  • An investigation has been opened to determine whether the platform has breached the 2003 Communications Act.
  • TikTok have spoken and said the problem was due to technical issues that may have led to some information being inaccurate.
  • The regulator said it asked for information as part of a report into how video-sharing platforms (VSPs) were protecting users from harmful content.
  • Ofcom published this report on Thursday, it outlines how TikTok, Snap and Twitch were protecting children from encountering harmful videos.
  • You can view the full report here.
  • For more, please visit the Guardian’s website.

Twitch revamps rules on sexual content

  • Adult content such as nude drawings and sculptures are now permitted on streaming site Twitch. However, this is only as long as it is deemed artistic.
  • Creators can now also stream video highlighting their “breasts, buttocks or pelvic region.”
  • Twitch have stated that a blanket ban on pornographic content is still in place.
  • Other dances such as pole dancing and “twerking” are also now allowed without being labelled.
  • Twitch vice president of customer trust Angela Hession said in a blog post that Twitch wanted streamers to feel confident in their rules and that viewers will “get the experience they expect.”
  • The primary change involves the requirement for content creation labels on certain streams. Viewers must provide consent before watching such streams.
  • Streamers who do not correctly label their content will be warned and the correct label will be applied by Twitch.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Bereaved parents’ anger at ‘broken’ online safety promise

  • Parents of children who died in circumstances linked to social media and gaming have accused the government of “watering down” online safety laws.
  • Plans were previously announced to give coroners new powers to access information held by tech companies on bereaved families’ loved ones if there is reasonable suspicion that the online world is relevant to their deaths.
  • Under the Data Bill which is to be debated in parliament next week, this provision is to be clarified so that it only applies to children who have taken their own lives.
  • A letter was written to the Science Secretary Michelle Donelan by Bereaved Families for Online Safety, who stated they were “devastated” by the amendment.
  • Ms Donelan has said that the police had “extensive powers of investigation” into tech companies which were strengthened last year by a data access deal with the US.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Rishi Sunak considers curbing social media use for under-16s

  • Reports have suggested that a potential ban on social media for young people under the age of 16 to try and protect them from online harm.
  • The UK Government is considering further action despite the implementation of the Online Safety Act.
  • Bloomberg first reported that a consultation would be launched in the new year to explore the risks young people are exposed to whilst using social media.
  • A spokesperson for the government has stated that they are looking for ways to “empower parents rather than crack down on anything in particular.”
  • They also said that more research needs conducted into the area.
  • For more, please visit the Guardian’s website.

Jimmy Savile victim says new NI law could protect sex offenders

  • A woman abused by Jimmy Saville has said that new laws in Northern Ireland offer a potential “protection” for sex offenders and risk silencing survivors.
  • The law stops the publication of claims against alleged perpetrators until 25 years after they die. This is unless they have been convicted or charged during their lifetime.
  • The reviewal of offences which led to new legislation, ‘The Justice (Sexual Offences and Trafficking Victims) Act Northern Ireland 2022, was led by retired judge Sir John Gillen.
  • He recommended providing anonymity for alleged offenders before they were charged, but this did not extend beyond their death.
  • Samantha Brown was abused by Jimmy Saville from the age of 11 but was too scared to speak while her abuser was alive.
  • She believes the new laws to be a “complete protection clause” for those who abuse children, young people and vulnerable people.
  • Officials in Stormont’s Department of Justice were unable to tell the BBC whether Jimmy Saville was investigated by police in Northern Ireland.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.