Connect with us

Tech

TikTok takes steps to make platform safer for teens

Published

on

Short-form video app TikTok has released the findings of a report specially commissioned to help better understand young people’s engagement with potentially harmful challenges and hoaxes — pranks or scams created to frighten someone — in a bid to strengthen safety on the platform.

In a statement, the company said that its social networking service had been designed to “advance joy, connection, and inspiration,” but added that fostering an environment where creative expression thrived required that it also prioritized safety for the online community, especially its younger members.

With this in mind, TikTok hired independent safeguarding agency Praesidio Safeguarding to carry out a global survey of more than 10,000 people.

The firm also convened a panel of 12 youth safety experts from around the world to review and provide input into the report, and partnered with Dr. Richard Graham, a clinical child psychiatrist specializing in healthy adolescent development, and Dr. Gretchen Brion-Meisels, a behavioral scientist focused on risk prevention in adolescence, to advise it and contribute to the study.

The report found that there was a high level of exposure to online challenges and teenagers were quite likely to come across all kinds of online changes in their day-to-day lives.

Social media was seen to play the biggest role in generating awareness of these challenges, but the influence of traditional media was also significant.

When teens were asked to describe a recent online challenge, 48 percent were considered to be safe, 32 percent included some risk but were still regarded as safe, 14 percent were viewed as risky and dangerous, and 3 percent were described as very dangerous. Only 0.3 percent of the teenagers quizzed said they had taken part in a challenge they thought was really dangerous.

Meanwhile, 46 percent said they wanted “good information on risks more widely” along with “information on what is too far.” Receiving good information on risks was also ranked as a top preventative strategy by parents (43 percent) and teachers (42 percent).

Earlier this year, the AFP reported that a Pakistani teenager died while pretending to kill himself as his friends recorded a TikTok video. In January, another Pakistani teenager was killed after being hit by a train, and last year, a security guard died while playing with his rifle while making a clip.

Such videos were categorized in the report as “suicide and self-harm hoaxes” where the intention had been to show something fake and trick people into believing that it was true.

Not only could challenges go horribly wrong, as evidenced by the Pakistan cases, but they could also spread fear and panic among viewers. Internet hoaxes were shown to have had a negative impact on 31 percent of teens, and of those, 63 percent said it was their mental health that had been affected.

Based on the findings of the report, TikTok was strengthening protection efforts on the platform by removing warning videos. The research indicated that warnings about self-harm hoaxes could impact the well-being of young people, as they often treated the hoax as real. As a result, the company planned to remove alarmist warnings while allowing conversation that dispelled panic and promoted accurate information.

Despite already having safety policies in place the firm was now working to expand enforcement measures. The platform has created technology that alerts safety teams to sudden increases in violating content linked to hashtags and has now expanded it to capture potentially dangerous behavior.

TikTok also intends to build on its Safety Center by providing new resources such as those dedicated to online challenges and hoaxes and improving its warning labels to redirect users to the right resources when they search for content related to harmful challenges or hoaxes.

The company said the report was the first step in making “a thoughtful contribution to the safety and safeguarding of families online,” adding that it would “continue to explore and implement additional measures on behalf of the community.”

Tech

Fact checkers say YouTube lets its platform be ‘weaponized’

Published

on

By

More than 80 fact checking organizations are calling on YouTube to address what they say is rampant misinformation on the platform.

In a letter to CEO Susan Wojcicki published Wednesday, the groups say the Google-owned video platform is “one of the major conduits of online disinformation and misinformation worldwide.”

YouTube’s efforts to address the problem, they say, are proving insufficient.

“What we do not see is much effort by YouTube to implement policies that address the problem,” the letter says. “On the contrary, YouTube is allowing its platform to be weaponized by unscrupulous actors to manipulate and exploit others, and to organize and fundraise themselves.”

The problem, these groups said, is especially rampant in non-English speaking countries and the global south.

The fact checkers are all members of the International Fact Checking Network and include Rappler in the Philippines, Africa Check, Science Feedback in France and dozens of other groups. They lambasted YouTube, saying it frames discussions about disinformation as a “false dichotomy” of deleting or not deleting content.

Displaying fact-checked information is more effective than deleting content, the fact checkers wrote.

They propose that YouTube focuses on providing context and debunks that are “clearly superimposed” on videos. They also called for YouTube to act against repeat offenders and beef up efforts against misinformation in languages other than English.

In a statement, YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez said the company has “invested heavily in policies and products in all countries we operate to connect people to authoritative content, reduce the spread of borderline misinformation, and remove violative videos.”

She called fact checking “a crucial tool to help viewers make their own informed decisions,” but added that it is “one piece of a much larger puzzle to address the spread of misinformation.”

Continue Reading

Tech

YouTube TV reaches deal with Disney to restore ESPN, ABC and FX channels

Published

on

By

If you use YouTube TV, you have access to Disney content like National Geographic, ESPN, ABC and FX again.

YouTube TV announced on Sunday that they reached a deal with Disney to restore access to those channels after they failed to reach a deal last week.

The price of the content will revert to $64.99 per month, but all impacted members will still receive a one-time $15 discount.

“We appreciate Google’s collaboration to reach fair terms that are consistent with the market, and we’re thrilled that our robust lineup of live sports and news plus kids, family and general entertainment programming is in the process of being restored to YouTube TV subscribers across the country,” Disney told USA TODAY in a statement.

All Disney recordings previously in your YouTube TV library will be restored, and your local ABC station will be available once again.

YouTube TV wrote to users that for any subscribers who were impacted and have initiated the cancellation process, the company will still honor the one-time $15 credit on your bill if you resume your membership before you lose access. If you go to tv.youtube.com/membership and click “Add,” you return the Base Plan to your membership.

You will still see a $64.99 price upon re-activating your membership, but a one-time discount will be reflected in your next bill.

The two companies were negotiating a new contract throughout last week and Disney had told USA TODAY it was “optimistic” a deal could be reached. The split came right as the college football bowl season was heating up with many games scheduled to be broadcast on ABC, ESPN and ESPN 2.

During that time, the service lowered its monthly price by $15, from $64.99 to $49.99, while the Disney channels were off the platform. The complete list of channels removed from YouTube included Disney Channel, National Geographic, and the SEC Network.

In a short amount of time, the two streaming behemoths resolved their differences, but consumers still expressed their frustration on Twitter.

“The damage was done and is irreversible. I can’t trust YouTube TV to get anything done in a timely manner to avoid disruptions,” said Twitter user Brian Prescott.

Other users point out that it’s normal for disruptions to occur when companies are renegotiating contracts.

“These disputes happen with every provider,” said Twitter user Whitney Lucas. “It’s going to keep happening as these channels/content providers want to charge a whole lot more money every time their contracts expire.”

Continue Reading

Tech

UAE, Bahrain to launch joint nanosatellite to ISS on Tuesday

Published

on

By

The UAE and Bahrain are set to launch a joint nanosatellite to the International Space Station on Tuesday, representing a major milestone of cooperation in space science, technology and engineering between the two countries.

“Light-1 will take off onboard a SpaceX CRS-24 flight on board of a Falcon 9 rocket after undergoing rigorous safety and environmental tests for thermal and vibration, communication systems and more,” said a statement on Emirati state news agency WAM.

The nanosatellite will be deployed from the Japanese Experiment Module in the ISS into orbit, supervised by the Japanese Aerospace Space Agency.

It was built and designed in collaboration between the UAE Space Agency and Bahrain’s National Space Science Agency.

The nanosatellite’s name was inspired by a book written by Bahrain’s King Hamad called “The First Light,” which recounts key points in the kingdom’s history and symbolizes the country’s growth and scientific progress.

The research spacecraft was developed by a team of leading Bahraini and Emirati engineers and scientists in the UAE, made up of 23 students, including nine Bahrainis and 14 Emiratis from Khalifa University and New York University Abu Dhabi.

“After reaching its orbit around Earth, Light-1 will monitor and study terrestrial gamma ray flashes from thunderstorms and cumulus clouds,” the statement said, adding that it will be the first study of its kind in the region and New York University will lead the science data analysis aspect of the mission.

Continue Reading

Trending