Pandemic Linked Issues Keeping 5% of Students at Home 

  • Around one in 20 children in England are out of school due to issues linked to the pandemic and lockdown, the Children’s Commissioner has suggested
  • Anne Longfield stressed the number of schools that have sent pupils home due to a Covid-19 case was very small
  • There were many others, she said, with special needs or emotional problems, who had not yet returned from lockdown
  • But getting COVID tests to schools quickly was a test the government could not afford to fail, she added
  • Some eight million children attend England’s schools and colleges, so 5% is about 400,000 pupils
  • Ms. Longfield told BBC News that the number of children back in school was good, thanks to the heroic efforts of teachers and school staff

Judge Stops US Government’s Order to Ban WeChat 

  • A judge has blocked a US government attempt to ban the Chinese messaging and payments app, WeChat
  • US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said the ban raised serious questions related to the constitution’s first amendment, guaranteeing free speech
  • The Department of Commerce had announced a bar on WeChat appearing in US app stores from Sunday, effectively shutting it down
  • The Trump administration has alleged it threatens national security, claiming the app could pass user data to the Chinese government
  • Both WeChat and China have strongly denied the claim. Tencent, the conglomerate that owns WeChat, had previously described the US ban as “unfortunate”

Selena Gomez Writes Open Letter to Facebook Over Online Misinformation and Racism

  • Selena Gomez has shared a private message she sent to Facebook executives
  • Gomez called on executives to do more to stop the alleged spread of hate and misinformation on the site
  • “We have a serious problem,” Gomez began, adding: “Facebook and Instagram are being used to spread hate, misinformation, racism, and bigotry”
  • It comes as a number of other high-profile figures including Kim Kardashian, Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Ruffalo, Dwyane Wade and Katy Perry have blocked out their social media activities in recent weeks to promote #StopHateforProfit

Friends Look for Answers Regarding Online Suicide

  • A man named Josh Steen is searching for answers from Facebook after his friend died from suicide whilst live streaming
  • “For the last two and a half weeks Ronnie’s image has been one of the most recognizable on the internet and yet these companies claim to have detection software to stop it, so something isn’t right,” he said
  • He reported it to Facebook during the Livestream, at 22:00 Mississippi time – two hours after the video had started, and half an hour before Ronnie killed himself
  • Josh Steen said the social network had an opportunity to stop the stream when Ronnie misfired his gun before 22:00 – which he says is a clear violation of the guidelines