Tuesday February 19, 2019
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Using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook over two hours a day bad for kids’ memory

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Ottawa:  Spending more than two hours daily on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can put your kids at the risk of developing poor mental health, high psychological distress and even suicidal thoughts, new research shows.

“The findings send an important message to parents and suggest an opportunity to increase mental health support service offerings on these websites,” said researchers Hugues Sampasa-Kanyinga and Rosamund Lewis from Ottawa Public Health in Canada.

The duo compared time spent using social networking sites to the teenagers’ self-reports of psychological well-being and unmet needs for mental health support.

They analysed data on students in grades seven-12 from the “Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey”.

Nearly 25 percent of students reported using social networking sites for more than two hours daily.

“However, this is where we see social networking sites, which may be a problem for some, and a solution for some,” said Brenda K. Wiederhold from the Interactive Media Institute in San Diego, California.

“Since teenagers are on the sites, it is the perfect place for public health and service providers to reach out and connect with this vulnerable population and provide health promotion systems and supports,” Wiederhold added.

The paper appeared in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour, and Social Networking. (IANS)

 

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UK Parliamentary Report Highlights Facebook Acting as ‘Digital Gangsters’

The report highlights Facebook documents obtained by the committee relating to a Californian court case brought by US-based app developer Six4Three.

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Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

Lashing out at Facebook for behaving like “digital gangsters” in the online world, a UK parliamentary committee concluded that the social networking giant intentionally and knowingly violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws.

In its final report on Monday after an 18-month investigation into disinformation and “fake news”, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee of the UK Parliament called for stricter regulation to make Facebook end spread of disinformation on its platform.

“Democracy is at risk from the malicious and relentless targeting of citizens with disinformation and personalised ‘dark adverts’ from unidentifiable sources, delivered through the major social media platforms we use everyday,” Damian Collins, Chair of the DCMS Committee, said in a statement.

The report highlights Facebook documents obtained by the committee relating to a Californian court case brought by US-based app developer Six4Three.

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The now-defunct start-up Six4Three alleged that Facebook collected information on users and their friends through its apps. Pixabay

Through scrutiny of internal Facebook emails between 2011 and 2015, the report found evidence to indicate that the company was willing to override its users’ privacy settings in order to transfer data to some app developers.

The investigation found that Facebook was willing to charge high prices in advertising to some developers, for the exchange of data, and starve some developers – such as Six4Three – of that data, contributing to them losing their business.

The now-defunct start-up Six4Three alleged that Facebook collected information on users and their friends through its apps.

The report also named Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who refused summons to appear before the committee three times.

“By choosing not to appear before the Committee and by choosing not to respond personally to any of our invitations, Mark Zuckerberg has shown contempt towards both the UK Parliament and the ‘International Grand Committee’, involving members from nine legislatures from around the world,” the report said.

 

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The report also named Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who refused summons to appear before the committee three times. Pixabay

“Mark Zuckerberg continually fails to show the levels of leadership and personal responsibility that should be expected from someone who sits at the top of one of the world’s biggest companies,” Collins said.

Launched in 2017, the inquiry intensified after the Cambridge Analytica data-harvesting scandal became public.

 

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In the 108-page report, the UK lawmakers accused Facebook of continuing to prioritise shareholders’ profits over users’ privacy rights.

“We are open to meaningful regulation and support the committee’s recommendation for electoral law reform,” Karim Palant, Facebook’s UK public policy manager, was quoted as saying by The Guardian. (IANS)