Child friendly changes coming to Google Search and YouTube

  • Google has responded to pressure from governments and campaigners to provide a safer online environment for children.
  • Google has announced a suite of wellbeing and privacy changes for children on their search function and YouTube.
  • Among the measures, videos uploaded to YouTube by users under the age of 18 will be set to private by default unless the user alters permissions for it to be viewed by the public.
  • On YouTube, the measures will also include the ability to disable auto-play and will provide young users with break and bedtime reminders.
  • For Google search, new rules will enable anyone under 18 or their parent or guardian to request that their photo be removed from results.
  • Regarding data protection, Google will switch off location history – without the option to turn it back on – for all users under 18 years old.
  • Google will also prevent age-sensitive ad categories from being displayed to teenagers and block ad targeting based on age, gender, or the interests of young users.
  • For the full story, see here.

Altered images on social media ‘detrimental’ for mental health

  • Campaigners have said that social media adverts must clearly state the use of manipulated images because of the risk to people’s mental health.
  • A postgraduate student, Lara Philippart, began a petition after social media caused her to have anxiety about her body. She then began researching it as part of her master’s degree.
  • This follows Norway’s new law to stop influencers from posting modified photos without declaring alterations.
  • A study by London’s City University found 90% of women surveyed would edit pictures to reshape their nose or jaw, brighten their teeth or alter their waist before posting on social media.
  • Lara expressed concerns that people were ‘under-eating’ in a bid to look like those unachievable images created with filters.
  • Full story here.

Facebook removes anti-vax influencer campaign

  • Facebook has removed hundreds of accounts that it says were involved in anti-vax disinformation campaigns operated from Russia.
  • These targeted accounts in India, Latin America, and the US.
  • They attempted to recruit influencers to spread false claims to undermine public confidence in particular Covid-19 vaccines.
  • This follows Thursday’s news of Facebook being accused of allowing fossil-fuel industry campaigns to spread misinformation on the climate crisis (here).
  • Facebook said it found links between the network and a botched disinformation campaign from influencer marketing agency Fazze.
  • Fazze has been connected to false claims about the risks associated with the Pfizer vaccine by a BBC Trending Investigation.
  • For the full story, click here.

Xbox and Special Olympics to host Gaming for Inclusion event

  • Xbox and The Special Olympics have partnered together for the Gaming for Inclusion Event, a virtual e-sports tournament aiming to further accessibility around games and sports.
  • Gaming for Inclusion will take place between September 12 and 18 on theXbox Twitch channel and Special Olympics YouTube channel.
  • The event will feature tournaments in Rocket League, Forza Motorsport 7, and Madden NFL 22.
  • For the full story, click here.