WhatsApp may be working on a ‘Communities’ feature

  • WhatsApp is allegedly working on a ‘Communities’ feature.
  • The feature would give group admins more power over groups, including the ability to create groups within groups.
  • This would function similarly to how channels are arranged in Discord.
  • Admins may be able to invite new users via a ‘Community Invite Link’ and start messaging other members.
  • While this has not been confirmed, the chats appear to be end-to-end encrypted like regular chats on WhatsApp.
  • This moves WhatsApp closer to other messaging apps like Telegram.
  • For more information on WhatsApp, check out our safety card.
  • Full story, here.


Firms under fire for using UK influencers to push nicotine products

  • Firms are under fire for using UK influencers to push nicotine products on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.
  • 26 UK-based social media influencers, with a collective 2.2m followers, endorsed Velo, a brand of flavoured nicotine pouches made by British American Tobacco (BAT).
  • These new influencers are being coined ‘Nicotinfluencers’ and promote nicotine products as the ‘new alternative to cigarettes’.
  • A coalition of 100+ health and anti-smoking groups have written a letter to chief executives of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.
  • This letter calls for an end to the promotion of addictive products on social media.
  • Meta, the new parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is investigating whether the posts meet its guidelines, which prohibit the advertising of nicotine products.
  • Full story, here.

Facebook aware of the level of ‘problematic use’ among its users

  • Internal research by Facebook showed that 1 in 8 of its users reported compulsive social media use that interfered with their sleep, work, and relationships.
  • Facebook had created a team dedicated to user well-being which had suggested ways to decrease problematic use, but the team was shut down in 2019.
  • The report is the latest in an ongoing series of ‘leaks’ named the ‘Facebook Files’ from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) based on internal documents by whistle-blower Frances Haugen.
  • Pratiti Raychoudhury, a vice president of research forMeta claims that the report has misrepresented the research and argues that ‘problematic use does not equal addiction’.
  • For more information on screen time, check out our Family Screen Time Safety Pack.
  • Full story, here.


Scale of regional learning loss is revealed in England

  • Data released by the Department of Education (DoE) has provided a regional overview of how the pandemic has affected pupils’ education.
  • The disruption to education caused by COVID-19 was almost five times higher in some parts of the country than others during the last academic year.
  • Primary school pupils in the East Midlands suffered the most severe learning loss in maths while students in the South West, South East and London were least affected.
  • This was due to over five months of lost learning during the lockdowns as schools were forced to move into remote lessons.
  • In literacy, secondary schools in Yorkshire and the Humber, the West Midlands and the North West experienced the greatest learning losses.
  • The figures show that the pandemic affected pupils in different way and widened the attainment gap between regions. Some pupils in certain regions did not have equal access to technology to maintain learning during the pandemic.
  • Full story, here.