UK calls on social media firms to better protect children

Britain’s health secretary says the government will introduce new laws targeting online social media companies if they don’t do more to protect children. (Shutterstock)
Updated 22 April 2018
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UK calls on social media firms to better protect children

LONDON: Britain’s health secretary says the government will introduce new laws targeting online social media companies if they don’t do more to protect children.
In a strongly-worded letter to Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Twitter and others, Jeremy Hunt said their failure to prevent young children using social media and exposing children to its “harmful emotional side effects” was “unacceptable and irresponsible.”
Hunt said Sunday he was particularly concerned about the lack of age verification measures, with thousands breaching minimum user age rules.
He gave the companies a week to set out steps they are taking to cut underage use, prevent cyberbullying, and promote limited screen time.
Hunt last year attacked Facebook for releasing a version aimed at children, telling the company to “stay away from my kids.”


Mystery of Saudi journalist Khashoggi's missing tweets

Updated 16 October 2018
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Mystery of Saudi journalist Khashoggi's missing tweets

RIYADH: Unusual activity has been observed on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s Twitter account since his disappearance on Oct. 2 — with a total of 163 old tweets having been deleted.
This has raised questions about the identity of the person managing Khashoggi’s Twitter account — and whether it is his alleged fiancée Hatice (Khadija) Cengiz. It was reported that all of Khashoggi’s cellphones are in her possession; yet Khashoggi’s ex-wife, Alaa Nassif, has said neither she nor Khashoggi’s family had any knowledge of Khadija.
On the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, he had not followed anyone new and the number of the accounts he followed was 778, according to the analytics tool SocialBlade.

After US commandos killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011, Khashoggie tweeted about how he had “collapsed crying.” He wrote on Twitter: “I collapsed crying a while ago, heartbroken for you Abu Abdullah (Bin Laden’s nickname). You were beautiful and brave in those beautiful days in Afghanistan, before you surrendered to hatred and passion.”
After US commandos killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011, Khashoggi tweeted about how he had “collapsed crying.” He wrote on Twitter: “I collapsed crying a while ago, heartbroken for you Abu Abdullah (Bin Laden’s nickname). You were beautiful and brave in those beautiful days in Afghanistan, before you surrendered to hatred and passion.”


That day, an additional 20 tweets were posted on Khashoggi’s account. Yet between Oct. 3 and Oct. 15, a total of 163 tweets were deleted — including 90 tweets on Oct. 4 alone. The number of accounts followed by Khashoggi also dropped by five during the same period — although it is not clear whether these accounts were deliberately unfollowed.

Rogue killers: Read US President Donald Trump’s latest comments on the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

A Saudi Twitter user named Trad Al-Asmari has also monitored Khashoggi’s account and posted the findings online.
Questions have been raised over the kind of tweets being deleted from Khashoggi’s account, given the controversial nature of some of his posts, in which he had expressed views that could have been deemed sympathetic to Al-Qaeda and Daesh.

In another tweet, Khashoggi apparently aimed to justify Daesh’s tactic of beheading people.


Lebanese political activist Nidal Sabeh said in a tweet about the activity on Khashoggi’s account:
“The person managing the Twitter account of Jamal Khashoggi has removed me from his friends list. His account has been recently very active, deleting several tweets and unfollowing accounts Jamal used to follow. I have no idea what could be the purpose of this act, but it certainly is noticeable.”