Snapchat announces new parental controls

  • Snapchat has announced new parental controls for the platform.
  • The controls will include options to limit friend suggestions
  • Snapchat will no longer show 13- to 17-year-old users’ accounts as suggestions to other users unless they have multiple friends in common.
  • This aims to make it harder for older users to find young users’ accounts.
  • This move comes as part of Snapchat’s efforts to combat sales of drugs on the platform.
  • More details on the parental controls are due to be released in the coming months.
  • Full story, here.

New laws to tackle misleading crypto-asset adverts

  • New laws to legislate crypto-asset promotions will be passed to deal with misleading promotion.
  • Within these laws, crypto assets will be subject to Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) rules in the same way as other financial promotions, such as for stocks.
  • Crypto assets such as Bitcoin (a cryptocurrency) are largely unregulated, and investors lack protection.
  • Approximately 2.3 million people in the UK own a crypto asset but the government is worried that consumers may not understand what they are buying.
  • While non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are also unregulated, they will not be covered by the new rules.
  • To find out more about NFTS, check out our blog post.
  • Full story, here.

Social media sites should not ban misleading content

  • According to UK’s senior scientific academy, calls for social media sites to remove misleading content should be rejected.
  • Misleading content includes false information about vaccines, climate change and 5G.
  • The Royal Society investigated sources and the impact of online misinformation and concluded that removing accounts would “do little to limit harmful effects”.
  • Bans could drive misinformation “to harder-to-address corners of the internet and exacerbate feelings of distrust in authorities”.
  • Full story, here.

Deaf students ‘falling behind’ due to face masks

  • The return of face masks in secondary school classrooms has left deaf students struggling to communicate.
  • The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) urges parents to contact education secretaries about the impact of face coverings on their children.
  • Deaf children are “falling behind” with schoolwork and struggling to communicate with friends.
  • Masks make lip-reading “impossible” and cover up “crucial facial expressions”.
  • The NDCS urges the government to provide clear face coverings to schools and colleges with deaf students and set up a dedicated support fund.
  • Full story, here.

Naomi Long MLA calls for more action on the “wild west” of social media

  • Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister has said more action is needed to call time on the “wild west” of social media abuse.
  • A cyber-flasher exposed himself on a Zoom call during an online vigil for murdered schoolteacher Ashling Murphy.
  • This follows the targeting of Diane Dodds MLA by trolls over the death of her young son.
  • Long maintains that the upcoming Online Safety Bill “does not go far enough”, particularly around anonymous accounts on social media.
  • She claims that tackling online abuse and harassment needs to be a wider effort, not just UK-wide.
  • Full story, here.

Emergency fuel payment scheme ‘overwhelmed’

  • The Stormont Communities Minister reports that the emergency fuel payment scheme has been overwhelmed.
  • The Stormont Executive agreed that the £55 million scheme is to make an automatic payment to around 280,000 eligible families in Northern Ireland in receipt of specified benefits.
  • A smaller complementary £2 million fund has also been designed for those also facing pressures, operated by the Bryson Charitable Group.
  • Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey MLA, described the demand as “unprecedented”.
  • The additional funding was considered vital in providing emergency financial support to around 20,000 vulnerable families.
  • Full story, here.