TikTok updates Safety Centre resources following internal research on harmful challenges

  • TikTok released the results of its own internal research into how young people engage with potentially harmful challenges and hoaxes online.
  • A survey was completed by more than 10,000 teens, parents, and teachers from various countries including the UK.
  • Young people rated the risk level of recent online challenges with almost half (48%) being described as safe, fun, and light-hearted.
  • 32% of challenges were rated as involving ‘some risk’ but still safe, 14% described as risky and dangerous and 3% as very dangerous.
  • Only 0.3% of young people reported attempting a challenge they described as very dangerous.
  • The report also explored the impact of ‘false warnings’ alleging that children are being encouraged to commit self-harming acts or suicide.
  • 31% of young people exposed to false warnings experienced negative impacts and 65% of those young people reported their mental health was negatively impacted.
  • TikTok has released a new set of resources to give parents and children more information on online challenges and hoaxes.
  • These include advice on how to assess risk and a prompt encouraging them to visit the Safety Centre if they search for hoaxes linked to suicide or self-harm.
  • Full story, here.

Meta accused of continuing to monitor young people for ad targeting

  • According to new research, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has kept its algorithm to track children and young people’s activity.
  • The data is then used to inform which ads are targeted to young people to maximise engagement and boost ad revenues.
  • In response, Meta has denied that it is using the data for ad personalisation on its platforms but made no comment on why it’s still monitoring and collecting data on young users.
  • The research by Fairplay, Global Action Plan and Reset Australia found that Meta continues to optimise algorithms for young users.
  • This follows an announcement that Facebook has removed ‘sensitive’ ad categories preventing advertisers from targeting users based on sexual orientation, religion, and political beliefs.
  • Plans to amend EU’s draft legislation to include the ban on all surveillance advertising has been backed by privacy advocates and advocacy groups including the Tech Transparency Project.
  • Full story, here.

Twitter’s improved labels for potential misinformation in tweets

  • Twitter is rolling out improved labels for misinformation in tweets.
  • The new labels will be displayed with different messages and alert colours for different kinds of potentially misleading elements in tweets.
  • The labels will help explain why the tweet has been flagged and to make users aware of misleading claims that don’t otherwise violate its guidelines.
  • This follows the initial release of misinformation tags in February, but these were criticised as too small and unclear.
  • Twitter has been criticised in the past for playing a part in the spread of harmful misinformation often originating from the platform, before spreading to other networks.
  • For more on misinformation, check out our blog.
  • Full story, here.

MLAs briefed on anti-bullying measures in schools

  • Officials from the Education Department are outlining anti-bullying measures being taken in schools.
  • In response to questions from MLAs, the Education Department reports that cyberbullying is an increasing problem in schools and requires a dedicated response.
  • The role of educating parents and carers on the impacts of cyberbullying and raising awareness about the issue has been reported as a priority.
  • The Education Department outlines that young people need more education on the impact of racial bullying and abuse.
  • Co-operative approaches with the community have been highlighted as important in creating a positive and safe learning environment in schools.
  • In honour of Anti-Bullying Week, an anti-bullying act was introduced in schools and staff were given training.
  • The Education Department highlights the importance of giving support to young people being bullied and to those displaying bullying behaviour.
  • The Department of Education says there are legislations being brought forward that can help tackle online bullying, like the Online Safety Bill.