Facebook research shows company knew of Instagram harm to teens, senators say

Facebook research shows company knew of Instagram harm to teens, senators say
Facebook put plans for Instagram Kids, aimed at pre-teens, on hold this week. (File/AFP)
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Updated 03 October 2021

Facebook research shows company knew of Instagram harm to teens, senators say

Facebook research shows company knew of Instagram harm to teens, senators say
  • US senators say that Facebook was aware that its instagram app was harming the mental health of teenagers

LONDON: US senators on Thursday grilled Facebook Inc. on its plans to better protect young users on its apps, drawing on leaked internal research that showed the social media giant was aware of how its Instagram app harmed the mental health of teens.
The hearing in front of the Senate consumer protection subcommittee was called after the Wall Street Journal published several stories earlier this month about how Facebook knew Instagram caused some teen girls in particular to feel badly about their self-image. After growing opposition to the project, Facebook put plans for Instagram Kids, aimed at pre-teens, on hold this week.
Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of safety, disputed the committee and WSJ’s conclusions of the research documents throughout the hearing, and said the company was working to release additional internal studies in an effort to be more transparent about its findings.
“This research is a bombshell,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, during the hearing. “It is powerful, gripping, riveting evidence that Facebook knows of the harmful effects of its site on children, and that it has concealed those facts and findings.”
“IG stands for Instagram, but it also stands for Insta-greed,” said Senator Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts.
The senators pressed Davis on several major themes, including what identifiable data Facebook collects on users under the age of 13, to what extent the company views young users as a growth area and to confirm whether it knew that Instagram led some children to consider suicide.
Davis reiterated that kids under 13 were not allowed on Facebook, adding 0.5 percent of teens in the company’s research connected their “suicidal ideation” to Instagram, lower than the figures the Journal had reported.
“You’ve cherry-picked part of the research that you think helps your spin right now,” said Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, demanding Facebook commit to releasing its full research on the links between Instagram and youth suicide.
A second hearing is planned for Tuesday and will feature a Facebook whistleblower. The whistleblower is expected to reveal their identity on Sunday in a recorded interview for TV news program “60 Minutes,” which in a preview described the woman as a former Facebook employee who left with tens of thousands of pages of research.
Davis said Thursday that Facebook would not retaliate against the whistleblower for sharing confidential documents with the senators.


Latest top-100 rankings for creativity, effectiveness, media excellence in advertising revealed

Latest top-100 rankings for creativity, effectiveness, media excellence in advertising revealed
Updated 13 sec ago

Latest top-100 rankings for creativity, effectiveness, media excellence in advertising revealed

Latest top-100 rankings for creativity, effectiveness, media excellence in advertising revealed
  • Marketing intelligence firm WARC’s annual rankings are compilation of most important industry awards

DUBAI: International marketing intelligence company WARC has released its creative, effective, and media 100 suite of global rankings for marketing communications featuring the most awarded campaigns, agencies, and brands in the world for 2020.

The annual league tables compiled by the firm are produced by combining the winners’ lists from the industry’s most important global and regional awards shows.

The events chosen are determined by WARC’s rankings advisory board and a worldwide industry survey as well as by applying a proprietary three-step methodology.

Amy Rodgers, managing editor for research and rankings at WARC, said: “The results of the WARC Rankings 2021 bring together the most awarded campaigns and companies of 2020 and are a fantastic showcase of a combination of the best work the industry produced pre-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as well as exceptional work notable for its response to the volatility caused by COVID-19.”

Due to the global health crisis many award shows were paused last year, resuming in 2021 to judge work from both years, resulting in the WARC Rankings 2021 being postponed from the first quarter (Q1) of the year until now. The WARC Rankings 2022 (work tracked during 2021) will be released in Q1 next year.

The most highly ranked campaigns and companies of the WARC Rankings 2021 are as follows.

In the Creative 100 rankings, the top brands were Burger King, holding its No. 1 position, IKEA, and Diesel, and the leading agencies were DAVID Miami (part of Ogilvy), which climbed up from No. 23, Impact BBDO Dubai, and Publicis Milan.

Liz Taylor, Ogilvy’s global chief creative officer, said: “Topping the WARC Creative 100 speaks to the borderless creativity that unites Ogilvy’s global creative network, and what’s possible when creative thinking stretches across departments, geographies, and cultures to become a shared mission.”

In the Media 100 Rankings, the top brands were McDonald’s, Nike, and new entrant Always, with Mindshare Shanghai, MediaCom Connections Tel Aviv, and Mindshare Ho Chi Minh City heading up the agencies.

Mark Read, chief executive officer of WPP, said: “If our role is to make the best work, connect brands seamlessly with audiences, and produce outstanding results for our clients, then there’s no better endorsement than to top the WARC 100 rankings for creative, media, and effectiveness.”

In the Effective 100 rankings, the headline brands were McDonald’s, KFC, and Coca-Cola. The top agencies were categorized into creative, media, and digital/specialist.

Among the top creative agencies were FP7 McCann Dubai, and new entrants Colenso BBDO Auckland, and BMF Sydney; the leading media agencies were new entrant Carat London, Mindshare Istanbul, and Carat Auckland; and the top digital/specialist agencies were Ingage Istanbul and newcomers AFFINITY Sydney, and Tribal Worldwide Bogota.

Suzanne Powers, global president and chief strategy officer at McCann Worldgroup, said: “The WARC honor as the No. 1 most effective network for 2021, is a testament to our teams’ unwavering dedication to using the power of creativity to drive impact for our clients’ brands across all of our regions.”

The full rankings can be found here.


OSN marks UAE’s 50th National Day by revealing top-watched content

OSN top-watched content includes Grey's Anatomy, Succession, Yellowstone and Tufah Al-Haram. (Supplied)
OSN top-watched content includes Grey's Anatomy, Succession, Yellowstone and Tufah Al-Haram. (Supplied)
Updated 29 November 2021

OSN marks UAE’s 50th National Day by revealing top-watched content

OSN top-watched content includes Grey's Anatomy, Succession, Yellowstone and Tufah Al-Haram. (Supplied)
  • List includes Arabic, Turkish and award-winning Western movies and shows

DUBAI: In celebration of the UAE's 50th National Day on Dec. 2, OSN is revealing the top-watched content within the UAE on its streaming platform. 

It includes award-winning international movies and TV shows, as well as regional shows in Arabic and Turkish.

One of the shows on the list is the Emmy award-winning “Succession,” a dark comedy that revolves around the themes of power, politics, and family.

The list also includes Golden Globe winner “Grey’s Anatomy,” which is currently in its 18th season, and the modern-day series, “New Amsterdam”.

“Yellowstone,” written by US screenwriter, actor, and director Taylor Sheridan, and the spy-adventure movie “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” by Patrick Hughes, starring Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Salma Hayek, is also among OSN’s most-viewed content.

When it comes to regional content, the Turkish drama series “Al Tuffah Al Haram,” with its fourth and newest season, and the Arabic comedy-drama “Mesh Ana,” starring Tamer Hosny, are also featured on the list.

Some of the most popular shows and movies on the list, such as “Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard,” “Yellowstone,” and “Al Tuffah Al Haram,” were launched on OSN Streaming as part of its “Always Fresh” campaign, which promised to drop new content on the platform every day through November and December.


Russia says Twitter mobile slowdown to remain until all banned content is removed, fines Google

 Russian authorities have taken steps recently to regulate technology giants more closely by imposing small fines for content violations. (File/AFP)
Russian authorities have taken steps recently to regulate technology giants more closely by imposing small fines for content violations. (File/AFP)
Updated 29 November 2021

Russia says Twitter mobile slowdown to remain until all banned content is removed, fines Google

 Russian authorities have taken steps recently to regulate technology giants more closely by imposing small fines for content violations. (File/AFP)
  • Russia will continue slowing down the speed of Twitter on mobile devices until all content deemed illegal is deleted
  • Russia also fined Google 3 million roubles on Monday for not deleting content that it deemed illegal

MOSCOW: Russia will continue slowing down the speed of Twitter on mobile devices until all content deemed illegal is deleted, state communications regulator Roskomnadzor told Reuters, as Moscow continues to make demands of Big Tech.
Russian authorities have taken steps recently to regulate technology giants more closely by imposing small fines for content violations, while also seeking to force foreign companies to have official representation in Russia and store Russians’ personal data on its territory.
Twitter has been subjected to a punitive slowdown in Russia since March for posts containing child pornography, drug abuse information or calls for minors to commit suicide, Roskomnadzor has said.
Twitter, which did not immediately comment on Monday, denies allowing its platform to be used to promote illegal behavior. It says it has a zero-tolerance policy for child sexual exploitation and prohibits the promotion of suicide or self-harm.
Videos and photos are noticeably slower to load on mobile devices, but Roskomnadzor eased speed restrictions on fixed networks in May.
Roskomnadzor said Twitter, which it has fined a total of 38.4 million roubles this year, has systematically ignored requests to remove banned material since 2014, but has taken down more than 90 percent of illegal posts.
“As of now, 761 undeleted posts remain,” Roskomnadzor said in response to Reuters questions. “The condition for lifting the access restriction on mobile devices is that Twitter completely removes banned materials detected by Roskomnadzor.”
The regulator has said it will seek fines on the annual turnover of Alphabet’s Google and Facebook in Russia for repeated legal violations, threats the two companies did not comment on at the time.
“We also reiterate that the social network Twitter has been repeatedly found guilty by a Russian court of committing administrative offenses,” Roskomnadzor said.

Russia has also fined Alphabet Inc.'s Google 3 million roubles on Monday for not deleting content that it deemed illegal, part of a wider dispute between Russia and the US tech giant.
Russia in October threatened to fine Google a percentage of its annual Russian turnover for repeatedly failing to delete banned content on its search engine and YouTube, in Moscow's strongest move yet to rein in foreign tech firms.
Google, which last month said it had paid more than 32 million roubles in fines, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Britain open to law to combat rise in online scams, says financial minister

The Treasury committee has previously told representatives from Facebook, Google, Amazon and eBay they needed to do more to combat fraud. (File/AFP)
The Treasury committee has previously told representatives from Facebook, Google, Amazon and eBay they needed to do more to combat fraud. (File/AFP)
Updated 29 November 2021

Britain open to law to combat rise in online scams, says financial minister

The Treasury committee has previously told representatives from Facebook, Google, Amazon and eBay they needed to do more to combat fraud. (File/AFP)
  • Britain is open to legislating a law to stop an explosion in scam adverts online, says financial services minister

LONDON: Britain is open to legislating to stop an explosion in scam adverts online being a significant source of fraud, financial services minister John Glen has told lawmakers.
Victims’ groups and campaigners have called for fraudulent adverts to be incorporated in the government’s planned Online Safety Bill, which currently only covers user-generated content.
“We are very sympathetic to that,” Glen told the Treasury Select Committee. “This is a massive problem. This is a significant opportunity in the absence of a better solution.”
A British record of 754 million pounds ($1 billion) was stolen in the first six months of this year, up 30 percent from the same period in 2020, according to data from banking industry body UK Finance, and up more than 60 percent from 2017, when it began compiling the figures.
Several government departments are involved in trying to stop online scams, raising concerns among committee members that solutions are too slow to emerge.
“You’re being very good at describing how difficult it all is, but what are you actually going to be doing about it?” said lawmaker Angela Eagle.
Glen said the finance ministry was liaising with the digital, culture, media and sport ministry (DCMS) — which is also looking at the problem of online scams — to try and find the best solution.
The Treasury committee has previously told representatives from Facebook, Google, Amazon and eBay they needed to do more to combat fraud.
Cybersecurity experts and banks have said Britain has become a global target for fraud attacks due to relatively light policing of fraud-related crime, a super-fast payments infrastructure and use of the world’s most widely used language English.
“This is an absolute priority. I am not satisfied where we are on this,” Glen said, adding that prevention needs to be a big part of the response.
“The challenge is how can we make effective intervention that is really going to bear down on this,” Glen said.


Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey steps down and hands reins to technology chief Agrawal

Dorsey will remain on the board until his term expires at the 2022 annual shareholder meeting. (AFP)
Dorsey will remain on the board until his term expires at the 2022 annual shareholder meeting. (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2021

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey steps down and hands reins to technology chief Agrawal

Dorsey will remain on the board until his term expires at the 2022 annual shareholder meeting. (AFP)
  • Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, steps down and hands over his role to CTO Parag Agrawal
  • Dorsey said he chose to step down due to the strength of Agrawal’s leadership and his confidence in the “ambition and potential” of Twitter’s employees

LONDON: Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey is stepping down from his role and Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal will now lead the company, the social networking site announced on Monday.
The appointment of Agrawal, a 10-year veteran of Twitter, marks an endorsement of a strategy the company previously laid out to double its annual revenue by 2023 and also indicates an increasing focus on Twitter’s long-term ambition to rebuild how social media companies operate.
Dorsey, who co-founded Twitter in 2006, is leaving after overseeing the launch of new ways to create content through newsletters or audio conversations while simultaneously serving as CEO of his payments processing company Square Inc.
He also navigated the tumultuous years of US President Donald Trump’s administration before banning the Republican from the platform after the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.
The CEO change is effective immediately and Dorsey will remain on the board until his term expires at the 2022 annual shareholder meeting, the company said.
In an email to employees on Monday, Dorsey said he chose to step down due to the strength of Agrawal’s leadership, the naming of Salesforce Chief Operating Officer Bret Taylor as the new chairman of the board and his confidence in the “ambition and potential” of Twitter’s employees.
“I’m really sad ... yet really happy,” he wrote. “There aren’t many companies that get to this level,” adding that his move to step down “was my decision and I own it.”
“We recently updated our strategy to hit ambitious goals, and I believe that strategy to be bold and right,” Agrawal said in an email to employees. “But our critical challenge is how we work to execute against it and deliver results.”
Shares of Twitter surged 9 percent in early trading following the news, which was first reported by CNBC, before paring those gains in the afternoon. Shares of Square were flat in afternoon trading.
Over the past year, Twitter has fought to end years-long criticism that it has been slow to introduce new features for its 211 million daily users and was losing ground to social media rivals like Instagram and TikTok.
Under Dorsey’s leadership, Twitter acquired email newsletter service Revue and launched Spaces, a feature that lets users host or listen to live audio conversations.
The company also rolled out advertising improvements to help brands find Twitter users likely to be interested in their product, a key component of the company’s goal to double annual revenue by 2023.
However, shares of Twitter have slumped in recent months, adding pressure on Dorsey to end his unusual arrangement of being CEO of two companies.
In early 2020, Dorsey faced calls from Elliott Management Corp. to step down, after the hedge fund argued that he was paying too little attention to Twitter while also running Square Inc.
Dorsey fended off the pressure by giving Elliott and its ally, buyout firm Silver Lake Partners, seats on Twitter’s board.
Dorsey will now focus on leading Square and other pursuits such as philanthropy, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The company’s board has been preparing for Dorsey’s departure since last year, the source said.