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November 28, 2023

Instagram reportedly served up child-sexualising reels to followers of teen influencers

  • According to an experiment conducted by The Wall Street Journal, Instagram Reels video service would show “risqué footage of children as well as overtly sexual adult videos” to test accounts that exclusively followed teen and preteen influencers – namely young gymnasts and cheerleaders.
  • These sorts of ads were supposed to be forbidden on Meta’s platforms.
  • The report added that the Canadian Centre for Child Protection achieved similar results with its own tests separately.
  • Companies like Bumble, and Disney have since either pulled their ads from Meta or pressed the firm to address the issue.
  • Meta told its clients that it was investigating and “would pay for brand-safety auditing services to determine how often a company’s ads appear beside content it considers unacceptable.”
  • For more, please visit the Engadget website.

Court document claims Meta knowingly designed its platform to hook kids, reports say

  • Meta Platforms deliberately engineers its social platforms to hook children and knew, but never disclosed this.
  • It also had received millions of complaints of underage users on Instagram but only disabled a fraction of those accounts.
  • Both claims are according to a newly unsealed legal complaint described in reports from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
  • The complaint was originally made public in redacted form and was the opening salvo in a lawsuit filed in late October by the attorneys general of 33 states (US).
  • Company documents cited in the complaint described several Meta officials acknowledging the company designed its products to exploit shortcomings in youthful psychology such as impulsive behaviour, susceptibility to peer pressure and the underestimation of risks.
  • Meta stated that the complaint misrepresents its work over the last decade to make their platform safe for teens, and argued age verification is a “complex industry challenge.”
  • For more, please visit the Yahoo News website.

The following story may be regionalised:

Mum’s plea to stop filming violence in Scotland’s schools

  • A mum, Mrs Donald, whose daughter was attacked on a school bus has said young people filming these incidents is adding to the anguish of victims.
  • In the aftermath of her daughter’s attack, she became so fed up with seeing the attack video being shared online that she handed her phone back to her parents for months.
  • Mrs Donald reported that social media was fuelling the school violence problem.
  • Her plea over sharing violent videos comes ahead of new research being published by the Scottish government about behaviour standards in Scotland’s schools.
  • Mrs Donald has called for a tightening of the law to prevent violent videos being shared, but added there is also a personal responsibility for young people witnessing these incidents.
  • The data from Fife Council also shows that so far in 2023, staff have reported 3,637 violent incidents – 2,788 of which were recorded as physical, while 698 were verbal incidents of violence, aggression or threat.
  • Fife Council’s head of education and children’s services, Maria Lloyd, said that the “safety and wellbeing of all our children and staff in every Fife school is a priority and we will continue to work with all our school communities to make sure our staff and young people have a positive experience at school.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Headteachers in England tell of worsening behaviour of pupils – and parents

  • Headteachers in England have described a culture of non-compliance amongst pupils.
  • As highlighted by the Ofsted report last week, once a parent who was called into school to discuss a behaviour issue would support the teacher’s position, headteachers said they were now seeing parents’ side with their child in defiance of the school, while others organise and take to social media to challenge school decisions.
  • A head teacher in a secondary school in the Midlands, reported that a number of her teachers are off sick due to stress as a result of pupil behaviour.
  • Additionally, Glyn Potts, headteacher of Saint John Henry Newman RC College in Oldham, said suspensions had doubled at his school, from 81 days last year to 161 days this year.
  • A Department for Education spokesperson said: “our updated Behaviour in Schools guidance provides advice on creating whole-school cultures which explicitly sets out what good behaviour looks like.”
  • For more, please visit The Guardian website.

Teachers use AI for planning and marking, says report

  • The Department for Education (DfE) report is based on 567 responses to a call for evidence about AI in education, including schools. Most submissions were from England.
  • It found that most respondents were “broadly optimistic” about the use of AI in education, but almost all had some hesitations.
  • The report will inform future policy on AI, the DfE said – adding that the government was already helping to “realise the potential of AI in education.”
  • Some teachers reported that using AI to create resources can help children with special educational needs and disabilities, or for those where English is a second language.
  • The DfE report said that for some teachers, using AI “reduced their overtime, improved their work-life balance and increased job satisfaction.”
  • Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “The results of the call for evidence give us a crucial evidence base to inform our future work on AI, helping us make the right decisions to get the best out of generative AI in a safe and secure way.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.