Social media firms told to protect young people or pay price

  • Social media firms have been warned they will face “severe punishments” including multimillion pound fines if they fail to stop young children using their platforms.
  • There are concerns over “self-declaration” age checks and how they are easily bypassed by young people, despite nearly all social media sites requiring children to be 13 or older.
  • New amendments to the Online Safety Bill will require companies to inform parents of how they will enforce minimum age limits and they will be required to publish risk assessments for children.
  • In addition, the government has dropped plans to force social media and search sites to take down material considered harmful but not illegal.
  • This is in response to concerns it would infringe free speech.
  • To learn more, go to the Times’ website.

More than 1.6 million social media accounts are owned by underage children

  • A survey by the Advertising Standards Authority has found that more than 1.6 million social media accounts owned by children are falsely registered with an adult age.
  • 93% of young people aged 11 to 17 say they have an account with Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch, Twitter or YouTube and a quarter of these misreport their age for these.
  • Through these accounts, children were exposed to almost two thirds more age restricted adverts than under 17s who set their profiles up with their actual age.
  • The survey also found that some 75% of accounts were set up by a child without a parent or guardian’s supervision.
  • To find out more, go to the Independent’s website.

TikTok ‘Invisible Body’ challenge exploited to push malware

  • Hackers are using the ‘Invisible Challenge’ on TikTok to install malware on devices and steal passwords, Discord accounts, credit cards stored on browsers and potentially cryptocurrency wallets.
  • The TikTok challenge requires participants to film themselves naked whilst using TikTok’s ‘Invisible Body’ filter which removes the body and replaces it with a blurred background.
  • Hackers are creating videos which claim to offer a special ‘unfiltering’ filter to remove the masking effect and expose the challenge participant’s body.
  • The software or ‘unfiltering’ filter is instead a fake software which installs malware.
  • To find out more, go to the Bleeping Computer website.

Meta fined £228 million by Irish Data Protection Commission

  • Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has been fined around £228 million by the Irish Data Protection Commission.
  • The fine is over a data breach which saw the personal details of hundreds of millions of Facebook users published online.
  • Phone numbers and email addresses of up to 553m users appeared on an online hacking forum.
  • Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon claims “The risks are considerable for individuals in terms of scamming, spamming, smishing, phishing and loss of control over their personal data”.
  • Read more on the BBC’s website.