TikTok jumps on online shopping bandwagon  

  • While TikTok is famous for its short lip sync videos and dance routines, the platform is now producing its first live shopping and entertainment event in the UK, due to take place today.  
  • Users of the platform can buy products directly from the platform.  
  • This is a style of shopping accelerated by the pandemic. According to an Insider Intelligence Report, from 2019 to 2020, the number of US social e-commerce shoppers grew 25% to 80 million.  
  • For information on how to stay safe on TikTok, read our safety card here.  
  • Full story, here.  


Instagram makes it easy for teens to find drugs, report finds  

  • A report by the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) has found that Instagram’s algorithms recommend drug dealers’ accounts to minor users, alongside suggesting drug-related hashtags.  
  • These findings came after the TTP created seven fake accounts for teen users aged 13, 14, 15 and 17.  
  • This follows the renewed scrutiny of Instagram and Facebook parent company Meta, in how their platforms adversely affect the mental and physical health of their adolescent and teen users.  
  • For more information on Instagram, read our blog here 
  • Full story, here.  


Young people are facing unimaginable mental anguish and terror online 

  • The Countess of Wessex has warned of a rise in online child sexual exploitation (CSE) and has called for tech firms and politicians to act to protect children and young people from harm.  
  • The WeProtect Global Alliance’s Global Threat Assessment said harm in some parts of Europe had risen by 50%.  
  • This follows the Internet Watch Foundation’s report that there were 8.8 million attempts to access images and videos of CSE during the lockdown in the UK.  
  • Furthermore, in the year ending March 2021, there were more than 90,000 child sexual abuse and image offences recorded by the police in the UK.  
  • Full story, here.  

Omicron: ‘Undoubtedly’ more cases of Covid variant in NI 

  • Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer, Michael McBride has said there are undoubtedly more unidentified cases of the variant, alongside the three identified on Tuesday.  
  • McBride stated that it was too early to say how this many impact Covid restrictions, but closure of schools would be the ‘very, very last thing’ looked at.  
  • This follows the statement by the Department of Education that there are no plans to close schools early this term or move to remote learning.  
  • Full story, here.