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January 5, 2024 Young people turning to AI therapist bots 

  • A total of 78 million messages, including 18 million since November, have been shared with the bot since it was created by a user called Blazeman98 just over a year ago.
  • The chatbot called Psychologist is the most popular mental health character on the site.
  • On, anyone can create chatbots based on fictional or real people.
  • Theresa Plewman, a professional psychotherapist, tested Psychologist, and reported that she is not surprised this type of therapy is popular with younger generations, but questions its effectiveness.
  • Theresa says the bot fails to gather all the information a human would and is not a competent therapist.
  • However, she says its immediate and spontaneous nature might be useful to people who need help.
  • Last year an AI service called Limbic Access was the first mental health chatbot to secure a UK medical device certification by the government and is now used in NHS trusts to classify and triage patients.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Facebook launches ‘link history’ tool that tracks where people go on the internet 

  • Facebook is rolling out a new tool that lets it track the links users click on.
  • The new “link history” is a catalogue of websites that people have visited within Facebook, which is stored in one location and visitors can navigate back to it to see where they have clicked.
  • Facebook is marketing the new feature as a way of storing links that might otherwise be lost or forgotten.
  • The link history tool keeps a collection of those links that have been clicked within the last 30 days.
  • The tool also gives the same information to Facebook, which it will use for ads: “When you allow link history, we may use your information to improve your ads across Meta technologies.”
  • It is “being introduced globally over time and may not be available in your location”.
  • Facebook states: “When you turn link history off, we will immediately clear your link history and you will no longer be able to see any links that you’ve visited. Additionally, we won’t save your link history or use it to improve your ads across Meta technologies.”
  • However, they note it may take up to 90 days for the data collected to be cleared from Meta’s servers.
  • You can turn link history on or off – see Facebook’s Help Centre.
  • For more, please visit the Yahoo News website.

Small rural schools are still facing a struggle to remain open: principal 

  • The principal of a County Antrim primary school has said she fears rural schools across NI remain under attack and face a fight for survival.
  • Louise Creelman, principal at Lislagan Primary in Ballymoney, stated: “I am currently principal of a school with 110 pupils, and I can’t over-emphasise how important schools like ours are in small rural communities where they often provide a hub and focal point for those communities. Take away the school and you could be threatening the very future of those communities.”
  • The Independent Review of Education noted in December, that there are too many small, unsustainable schools in NI.
  • Ms Creelman said that the benefits of smaller class sizes must be considered in decisions going forward: “some children are more suited to smaller class sizes”.
  • For more, please visit the Belfast Telegraph website.