Moms Inadvertently Expose Daughters to Predators on Instagram in Quest for Money and Fame, Investigation Reveals

Instagram User

Mothers are inadvertently exposing their young daughters to male predators on Instagram in a quest to garner money and fame, an investigation published by The New York Times on Thursday found.

The accounts, numbering in the thousands, reveal how social media platforms are altering the definition of childhood and the increasing commodification of young girls, the NYT found. In some cases, mothers managing the accounts actively sell photographs, previously worn outfits and chat sessions with their underage daughters.

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Zuckerberg Says Meta Has No Plans to Go Through with a Kids’ Version of Instagram

Mark Zuckerberg

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Congress on Wednesday said the tech firm has “no plans” to make a kids version of its Instagram platform. 

He acknowledge “discussions internally” on the idea but also said Meta has not “actually moved forward with that, and we currently have no plans to do so.”

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New Mexico Sues Facebook and Instagram for Hosting Child Sexual Abuse, Solicitation, and Trafficking Content

New Mexico is suing Facebook and Instagram for creating “prime locations” for sexual predators to share child sexual abuse, solicitation, and trafficking content.

NM Attorney General Raúl Torrez filed a civil suit filed against Meta and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, alleging that “certain child exploitative content” is ten times “more prevalent” on Facebook and Instagram than on pornography site PornHub and the adult content platform OnlyFans.

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China Ramps Up Crackdown on American Tech

Over the past few months, China has escalated its efforts to exert control over American technology companies by implementing new requirements, bans and restrictions.

The Chinese government is clamping down on American technology companies by throttling their already limited access to the country’s massive economy, according to new requirements, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The country has also challenged American technology dominance by developing rivals to the latest smartphones and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as announcing export limits to key metals in July.

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Meta’s Oversight Board Rules That Company Stifled Speech by Removing Posts About Abortion

Meta’s Oversight Board ruled Wednesday that Facebook and Instagram showed “patterns of censorship” by removing posts about abortion that the social media platforms claimed constituted death threats.

The board had been weighing a series of posts that were initially taken down by Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, for potential death threats against both pro-abortion and pro-life advocates before being reinstated after appeals from the users. The board took up the case in June and announced this week that Facebook had erred by removing the posts, according to the ruling.

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Meta’s Epidemic of Chinese ‘Spamouflage’ Propaganda

Meta recently took “what appears to be the largest known cross-platform covert influence operation in the world,” off its platforms, according to the company’s quarterly Adversarial Threat Report released this week.’

The social media accounts that made up the covert influence operation — collectively dubbed “Spamouflage” — were active all over the world, including in America, major U.S. allies, Taiwan, and the Chinese diaspora.

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New California Bill Would Make Social Media Platforms Liable for Harm Caused to Children

Parents of children who are harmed by the use of social media platforms are one step closer to holding those platforms accountable, thanks to a new bill passed by the California Assembly Judiciary Committee.

The bill was authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and is being sponsored by Attorney General Bonta.  

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Meta Launches Paid Verification Service

Meta on Friday launched a paid verification service for Facebook and Instagram that offers a profile badge and identity monitoring services in exchange for subscription fee.

While the company will not charge fees to existing verified accounts, others seeking verification must pay $11.99 per month on the web or $14.99 per month on mobile device, according to The Hill.

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Social Media Use in Children Linked to Significant Brain Changes

Person on phone with Twitter open

A new study from the University of North Carolina shows children and teens who frequently check social media may become more sensitive in the long term to “social feedback” in the form of “likes” and “dislikes” at a time when the brain is experiencing significant developmental changes.

In the study, published at the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, researchers Maria Maza, et al, investigated whether the frequency with which middle-school age children check their Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat social media accounts is associated with long-term changes in brain development as they mature further into adolescence.

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Meta’s ‘Unequal’ Moderation Policy Protects Elites on Facebook and Instagram: Report

Meta’s Oversight Board criticized the social media giant for unfairly favoring certain elite users of Facebook and Instagram, granting them amnesty from certain rules, and failing to publicly disclose the program’s extent.

Meta’s “cross-check” program is supposed to minimize the number of posts Facebook and Instagram incorrectly take down, by having a human review posts by certain “powerful” users when they are found to be violating the rules, according to the Oversight Board. The Board found that, in practice, cross-check protected these accounts, allowing their content to remain up even when it was in violation of the sites’ rules and helping favored accounts receive reduced punishments for infractions, all the while repeatedly failing to detail to the public and the Board which accounts and posts were subject to this policy.

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European Country Fines Instagram $400 Million

The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) fined Instagram  €405 million ($403 million USD) Monday over child privacy violations, according to Business Insider.

The fine for failing to protect the privacy of minors stemmed from a variety of default settings for minor-operated accounts that the data watchdog considered improper, according to Business Insider. Children were allowed to operate business accounts, receive messages from adults and had their accounts set to “public” by default, according to Business Insider.

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Big Tech Censored Dozens of Doctors, over 800 Accounts for COVID-19 ‘Misinformation,’ Study Shows

Major technology companies and social media platforms have removed, suppressed or flagged the accounts of over 800 prominent individuals and organizations, including medical doctors, for COVID-19 misinformation, according to a new study from the Media Research Center (MRC).

MRC’s Free Speech America CensorTrack, an initiative that monitors acts of censorship across online platforms, identified over 41 instances between March 2020 and February 2022 in which doctors, scientists and medical organizations were censored, according to the results of a study shared with Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Amazon and Facebook Spent More Money Than Ever Lobbying in 2021

Amazon and Facebook parent company Meta spent more money in 2021 lobbying lawmakers and officials than any year before, according to lobbying disclosure filings.

Amazon spent $20.3 million on lobbying while Meta spent $20.1 million in 2021, according to a review of lobbying disclosure filings by MarketWatch. The figures are record totals for both tech companies, who spent $18.9 million and $19.7 million on lobbying in 2020, respectively.

Google’s lobbying spend for 2021 clocked in at $11.5 million, while Microsoft spent $10.3 million and Apple spent $6.5 million, according to MarketWatch’s review.

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