MPs launch enquiry into rise of self-generated child abuse material

  • MPs have launched an inquiry into the “disturbing” rise of self-generated child sexual abuse material
  • The inquiry, titled “Selfie Generation: What’s behind the rise of self-generated indecent images of children online?”, will look into the causes and recommend ways to combat it
  • The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Media will investigate the problem, amid warnings of online communities “devoted” to contacting and grooming children
  • Labour MP Chris Elmore, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group, said: “Our inquiry will seek to understand the current scale of the threat and how this has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic; where this imagery is produced and distributed; and current initiatives that exist to protect children. It will be the first national inquiry into the rise of this content”

Romance fraudsters ‘target lonely’ in lockdown

  • Dyfed-Powys Police in Wales said there had been a significant increase in romance fraud during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Since January, victims in west Wales have been scammed out of £1.3m by people they met online
  • The force said criminals were taking advantage of people’s loneliness during the lockdown
  • Rebecca Jones, fraud safeguarding officer for the force, said men and women aged from 18 to 88-years-old had been targeted after looking for love online
  • “Without a doubt, we’ve seen an increase from the initial lockdown,” she said.
  • Across the UK between August 2019 and August 2020, Action Fraud received more than 400 reports a month from victims of romance fraud in UK, with victims scammed out of an average of £10,000 each
  • In June, July and August this year, more than 600 reports were made to the hotline a month, indicating an increase in scams during the pandemic

Facebook will put groups which violate rules on ‘probation’

      • Facebook plans to put groups on its platform with too many posts that violate its content rules on a form of probation, in the latest attempt to stop the spread of misinformation
      • Facebook will restrict any groups— both public and private ones— with multiple posts violating its community standards
      • Moderators for the groups will have to approve any posts manually for 60 days, and there’s no appeal available for groups on probationary status
      • During the probationary period, Facebook will keep tabs on how the moderators of restricted groups deal with posts; if they continue to allow posts that break its rules, Facebook may shut down the groups entirely
      • A Facebook spokesperson said “we are temporarily requiring admins and moderators of some political and social groups in the US to approve all posts if their group has a number of Community Standards violations from members”


      Young people told to isolate should be offered free mobile data and gaming, says SAGE

      • Young people told to isolate due to coronavirus should be offered free mobile data, streaming services and gaming, the government’s scientific advisers have suggested
      • The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) said compliance with Covid-19 restrictions was “substantially lower and declining” among people aged 18 to 29 compared to older age groups due to a “lack of trust in government”
      • The experts have recommended that young people asked to isolate or stay at home should be provided with “good financial and other support, e.g. free mobile phone data, streaming and gaming”
      • The proposal is included in a paper called “increasing adherence to Covid-19 preventative behaviours among young people”, which was considered by SAGE on 22 October and published for the first time on Friday