Amazon Advertises Shoes Using Racial Slur

  • Amazon has removed a product with a racially offensive description after complaints from a UK MP.
  • The product’s description contained a highly offensive racial slur for black people.
  • Amazon said it had been removed from sale after the company became aware of the problem, but failed to explain how the offensive word was published in the product description without being caught by any automatic filters.
  • Amazon said the item – a pair of brown formal shoes – was put up for sale from a ‘marketplace’ seller. These are third parties that sell through Amazon, but are independent from the company.

Home Office to Stop Using controversial Algorithm 

  • The Home Office has agreed to stop using a computer algorithm to help decide visa applications after allegations that it contained “entrenched racism”.
  • The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) and digital rights group ‘Foxglove’ launched a legal challenge against the system. Foxglove characterised it as “speedy boarding for white people”.
  • The Home Office, however, said it did not accept that description, saying “we have been reviewing how the visa application streaming tool operates and will be redesigning our processes to make them even more streamlined and secure”.
  • The controversy centred over an applicant’s nationality being used as a part of the automatic system. Use of the controversial algorithm will be suspended on Friday 7 August, with a redesigned system expected to be in place by the autumn.
  • Have a look at our blog to learn more about Algorithms.

Xbox to Launch Game Streaming Service 

  • Microsoft will launch its game streaming service, known as Project xCloud, on September 15th exclusively on Android devices only. 
  • Project xCloud will be bundled as part of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, and comes with more than 100 games available on Android tablets and phones. Game streaming will be limited initially to Android.
  • “It’s our ambition to scale cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass available on all devices, but we have nothing further to share at this time regarding iOS,” saidys a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement.
  • Microsoft isn’t detailing all 100-plus games that will be available for game streaming just yet, but has confirmed big names including Gears of War 4 and several Halo games.

Research Finds Lockdown Creating Mental Health Impact on LGBTQ Community

  • Research has found that the coronavirus lockdown has provoked a mental health crisis among the LGBTQ community, especially amongst young people. 
  • A study of LGBTQ people’s experience during the pandemic, by University College London (UCL) and Sussex University, found 69% of respondents suffered depressive symptoms, rising to about 90% of those who had experienced homophobia or transphobia.
  • Around a sixth of the 310 respondents to the study said they faced discrimination during the pandemic because of their sexuality. The rate rose to more than a third among those living in homes where they were not open about their identity. Almost 10% of people reported they felt unsafe in their homes.
  • The study’s co-author, Laia Bécares said the pandemic was having a “pernicious impact” on the LGBTQ community’s mental health, with younger trans and non-binary people suffering more discrimination and reporting the highest levels of depression.
  • Read our Contextual Safeguarding Factsheet to learn more about the LGBTQ Community.

Scottish Exam Board Lowered 125,000 Teacher Predicted Results 

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