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Google directing people to extreme content and conspiracy theories

Google directing people to extreme content and conspiracy theories

Technology
Google is directing people towards misinformation and conspiracy theories by placing YouTube videos prominently in its search results, an investigation by Sky News has found.Sky News found a number of search terms where extreme content and conspiracy theories featured highly in Google's results - including several topics of public concern. They appeared in the box marked "Videos", which Google places on the first page of certain searches, usually among the top results. For instance, a search for the phrase "5G birds" - a search term relating to a conspiracy theory that upgraded mobile networks will kill birds - showed an article debunking the theory by fact-checking organisation Snopes as the first line.Immediately underneath, the Videos box presented three YouTube videos repeating the cla...
Mark Zuckerberg asks governments to help control internet content

Mark Zuckerberg asks governments to help control internet content

Technology
Mark Zuckerberg says regulators and governments should play a more active role in controlling internet content.In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, Facebook's chief says the responsibility for monitoring harmful content is too great for firms alone.He calls for new laws in four areas: "Harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability."It comes two weeks after a gunman used the site to livestream his attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand."Lawmakers often tell me we have too much power over speech, and frankly I agree," Mr Zuckerberg writes, adding that Facebook was "creating an independent body so people can appeal our decisions" about what is posted and what is taken down.He also describes a ne...
Instagram eating disorder content 'out of control'

Instagram eating disorder content 'out of control'

Health
Media playback is unsupported on your device Content on Instagram that encourages eating disorders is "spiralling out of control", psychiatrists have warned.A BBC investigation found children swapping graphic images of weight loss and advice on how to make their illnesses more extreme.Dr Jon Goldin, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said "vulnerable" people were finding peer groups online.Instagram says it does not allow content encouraging or promoting eating disorders and removes it when aware.In January, the case of 14-year-old Molly Russell, who took her own life after viewing self-harm images, led to widespread criticism of Instagram.After public pressure the platform owned by Facebook announced a wide-ranging review and committed to...
Social media told to 'purge' harmful content after teenager's death

Social media told to 'purge' harmful content after teenager's death

Technology
Social media companies must "purge" their websites of content that promotes self-harm and suicide, the health secretary says.The demand comes after a father accused social media websites of playing a part in his daughter taking her own life. Molly Russell was 14 when she was found dead in her bedroom in November 2017.Her family said she had shown "no obvious signs" of severe mental health issues but they later found she had been viewing material on social media related to anxiety, self-harm and suicide.In fact, her father said algorithms used by Instagram had enabled her to view more harmful content, possibly contributing to her death. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he had written to a number of internet companies to remind them of their duty to act. In his letter, he said: "I ...
Tumblr to ban all pornographic content from 17 December

Tumblr to ban all pornographic content from 17 December

Technology
Social networking site Tumblr has announced plans to ban all pornographic content, effective from 17 December. The new policy comes weeks after the site was pulled from Apple's App Store after child abuse images made it past Tumblr's filters. In a post, CEO Jeff D'Onorio stressed Tumblr had always had a "zero tolerance policy" to such content, but wanted to improve safety on the site."Our actions are out of love and hope for our community," he wrote.New community guidelines state users cannot upload "real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples" - including anything "so photorealistic" it could be thought to be genuine. However, the site said posts featuring nudity that are "artistic, educational, newsworthy, or politica...