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Should Minors Be Legally Banned/Restricted From Using Social Media? (6/11/22 17:47 PST) (1 Viewer)


Direct Headline: Facebook documents show how toxic Instagram is for teens, Wall Street Journal reports

Facebook has repeatedly found that its Instagram app is harmful to a number of teenagers, according to a Wall Street Journal report...cited Facebook studies over the past three years that examined how Instagram affects its young user base, with teenage girls being most notably harmed. One internal Facebook presentation said that among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced the issue to Instagram.....“Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,”.... Facebook also reportedly found that 14% of boys in the U.S. said Instagram made them feel worse about themselves....

.... Still, Facebook has reportedly struggled to manage the problem while keeping users engaged and coming back. Facebook is also building a version of Instagram for kids under age 13....Young users are a key to Instagram’s success. More than 40% of Instagram’s users are 22 years old and younger....Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., has made children’s mental health concerns in connection with social media use a key priority and previously rebuked Facebook for considering such a product....Following the Journal’s report, Trahan called for Facebook to “immediately abandon plans for Instagram for Kids” and focus instead on protecting existing young users.....“Facebook’s internal documents show that the company’s failure to protect children on Instagram – especially young girls – is outright neglect, and it’s been going on for years....Facebook has no business developing additional social media platforms explicitly designed for our children when they can’t be trusted to keep their current house in order.....”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers... said Facebook “refused to comply” with a request from Republicans on the committee in March asking for its internal research on its products’ impact on kids’ mental health....“This also leaves us wondering what else they are hiding.....We will continue to demand transparency from Facebook and other Big Tech companies, especially as it relates to the harm their products have on our children....”

....Democratic FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra later tweeted, “Given the financial incentives embedded in its surveillance-based business model, it is yet another sign that the company cannot be trusted with our data....”

Jessica Bursztynsky and Lauren Feiner Tue, Sep 14 20218:10 PM EDT


Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show

By Georgia Wells , Jeff Horwitz and Deepa Seetharaman Sept. 14, 2021 7:59 am ET


Direct Headline: I grew up 'under a rock': My parents banned social media until I was 17. I'm glad they did.

....At the time, I was envious of friends and acquaintances at sports practices who posed for photos together, “tagged” each other in their posts, or gossiped about what Susy wore and could you believe that Jack and Jill broke up again?....I didn’t know at the time what a blessing it was to enjoy a childhood free of the constraints, anxiety and sadness social media often brings. Uninhibited by the expectations and consuming nature of social media, I had more time for real, in-person, screenless interaction....Facebook has studied the effects of its photo-sharing app on viewers over the past few years. The studies, according to The Wall Street Journal, unsurprisingly found that Instagram has detrimental effects on millions of young people, especially teenage girls.....

...Instagram algorithms facilitate a never-ending stream of photos and videos that “can send teens spiraling toward eating disorders, an unhealthy sense of their own bodies and depression,” The Journal said, citing Facebook's internal research.... Instagram exacerbated body image issues in 1 in 3 girls, and teens consistently blamed the app for increased anxiety and depression....Conversely, studies have shown that children who experienced technological withdrawals had better nonverbal cues, and were better equipped to accept delayed gratification or engage actively in the world around them....

Tech giants have demonstrated that they are aware of the downsides to the apps they have created. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs limited his own children’s use of technology and wouldn’t let them use the iPad his company created. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, wouldn’t let his children have phones until they were at least 14. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom expressed fears about his daughter growing up with the prevalence of harassment and bullying on his own platform....Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive, feels “tremendous guilt” for helping to create and promote Facebook’s success. He said that Facebook has been extremely damaging to society, and that he will not let his own children use it....

Social media’s explosion in popularity has unquestionably played a role in increased eating disorders, depression and suicide..... a Facebook study of teens in the United States and the United Kingdom reporting that many Instagram users felt “unattractive,” “not good enough” or insecure about their friendships after using the app.... 

Young people feel enormous pressure to do more exciting things, or to make as many amazing friends as the other people flooding their timeline. Never mind if the friendships online are secretly phony and kept up only for that group photo with hundreds of likes..... An eating disorder specialist at Johns Hopkins Hospital estimated that nearly 50% of her patients developed eating disorders from social media.....

Theresa Olohan 9/27/21


Direct Headline: Former Facebook exec won't let own kids use social media, says it's 'destroying how society works'

....Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive and the CEO of venture capital firm Social Capital, said in a November interview that social media is damaging society and voiced concerns about its impact on his own children...said that he feels “tremendous guilt” for helping build Facebook into the behemoth it is today. Palihapitiya joined the company in 2007 as its vice president for user growth, three years after it was founded in a Harvard dorm room by Mark Zuckerberg....."I think we all knew in the back of our minds, even though we feigned this whole line of 'unintended consequences,' I think in the back recesses of our minds, something bad could happen.....It literally is at a point now we've created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. That is literally where we are. I would encourage all of you how to internalize this is - if you feed the beast, the beast will destroy you...The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse. No cooperation. Misinformation. Mistruth. And it's not an American problem. This is not about Russian ads. This is a global problem. So we are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other...."

He also added he would not let his own children use it....

By Chris Ciaccia December 12, 2017 2:48pm EST


Direct Headline: Partisan differences in social media use show up for some platforms, but not Facebook

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they use social media overall (77% and 68%, respectively)....A majority of Americans on both sides of the political aisle say they use Facebook and YouTube. Roughly seven-in-ten Democrats (72%) and Republicans (69%) – including independents who lean toward each party ....Democrats are also about 10 points or more likely than Republicans to say they ever use Twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn or Reddit....

...These patterns have mostly been consistent across recent surveys. For example, use of Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn and Reddit was more common among Democrats than Republicans in surveys conducted by the Center in 2019 and 2018....surveys show that these sites hold appeal for some Americans as a way to get political news and show their support for causes. And some social media users have changed their views about political or social issues because of something they saw on social media in the past year. Also, majorities in both parties say that social media is at least somewhat effective as a way to influence policy decisions or get elected officials to pay attention to an issue....

.... In fact, even among younger Americans, Democrats are more likely than their Republican counterparts to say they use seven of the 11 sites asked about in the new survey....This is particularly true for Instagram: About two-thirds of 18- to 49-year-old Democrats (68%) say they use the platform, compared with 45% of Republicans in the same age group, a 23 percentage point gap. Among adults under 50, Democrats are 17 points more likely than Republicans to report using Twitter (43% vs. 26%)....

....White Democrats are 18 percentage points more likely than White Republicans to say they ever use Instagram or Twitter. They are also about 10 points or more likely to say they ever use LinkedIn, Reddit or WhatsApp...

By Emily A. Vogels, Brooke Auxier and Monica Anderson April 7, 2021


Direct Headline: The danger of making the internet safe for kids

When lawmakers focus on children’s online safety to get bills passed, they leave everyone else out....In the past, this has led to laws that are ill-considered, short-sighted, exclusive, and even unconstitutional. We all use the internet that these laws affect, yet they don’t apply to everyone, and everyone’s rights aren’t always taken into account. Laws that focus on children have also taken attention and time away from passing laws that help everyone....

....When President Joe Biden gave his first State of the Union address on March 1, he laid out his vision for how to make the internet a better place for its virtual inhabitants. Specifically, the president called for privacy protections that included a ban on targeted advertising and the collection of personal data....But there was one problem: Biden demanded all these things apply to children only. Adults, it seems, would have to continue to fend for themselves. So while Biden’s speech might have been novel in calling out the potential harms of the data-hungry internet economy, framing them as a children’s safety issue was very familiar territory....

As Congress makes yet another bipartisan push for child-focused internet laws — now with the president’s endorsement — it’s worth looking at some of the unintended consequences of past efforts. Sometimes, the laws are half-measures that help some people but leave others out. ...Some of the very first attempts to regulate the internet focused on its potential danger to children. In the mid-’90s, lawmakers became increasingly concerned about how easily children could access porn online. They tried to solve this with the Communications Decency Act, which made it illegal to knowingly transmit or display porn on the internet to anyone under the age of 18. Most of the CDA was struck down in the courts for being unconstitutional. In an effort to spare children from the potential harms of seeing sexually explicit content, courts said, the CDA violated the free speech of adults. But one part remained: Section 230, which says that internet platforms can’t be held civilly liable for content their users post. This law has allowed websites that host third-party content — think Yelp, YouTube, Facebook, even the comments sections of news sites — to exist....

....This was followed by 1998’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which gave children under 13 some privacy protections, including limits on collecting and retaining their data. More than 20 years after COPPA took effect — and with internet platforms and mobile apps collecting more of our data from more places than ever — Congress still can’t get it together to pass a consumer internet privacy law that covers the rest of us..... it can become needlessly complicated and may even introduce more privacy issues. The United Kingdom, for example, wants to make pornography sites verify ages by making users supply credit cards or passports. It also introduces a new security risk, as those sites will have another set of sensitive data that could potentially be accessed by bad actors. In the United States, websites typically verify ages through self-declaration, which means all kids have to do is lie to get access to their favorite sites..... To get around COPPA, many sites simply forbid anyone under 13 from using them, but don’t require anyone to prove how old they are when they sign up for an account. Either the age verification is essentially useless, or it’s an invasion of privacy....

“When you start looking at how to effectively verify somebody’s age on the internet without also invading their privacy as well as everybody else’s? That’s a really hard question...In order to verify somebody’s age, you have to collect a lot more information about them. How does that protect anybody’s privacy?

....That’s not to say that COPPA is a failure by any means. In fact, COPPA was what allowed the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to go after Weight Watchers for collecting data about users as young as 8 years old. Last week, Weight Watchers was forced to pay a $1.5 million fine and delete young users’ data...“It’s cynical and disturbing to use children’s safety as a way to score political points and advance legislation that won’t help children...The best way to protect children online is to protect everyone online....”

By Sara Morrison Mar 14, 2022, 7:00am EDT



"Yeah, well, you're not her parents anymore, you and Helen. Her parents are Axl Rose and Madonna. The five minutes a day you spend with her can't compete with that kind of constant bombardment." - True Lies

Consider the massive harm that widespread social media usage has inflicted upon adults.

Now unpack that type of pain, suffering, risk and terror onto children. And a clear strategy and pattern of negligence by Big Social Media giants who use their massive financial leverage to keep pushing for more and more growth, even to target markets that are younger and younger. Including children as young as 6 years old. Lending the impression that Big Social Media is behaving in line with how Big Tobacco inflicted itself upon America, and our children and youth, into horrible addiction with far reaching negative consequences.

Depression, eating disorders, negative body self image issues, suicide, bullying, harassment, enabling pedophiles and rapists, enabling criminals of all manner include drug cartels and organized crime, partisan political hatchet work, widespread lies and unchecked defamation, creating a digital legacy that could harm that child's chances and opportunities as an adult later by being cancelled, and on and on and on.

Information is moving faster than ever before, but at what cost?

Some Believe Big Social Media Is Using The Same Engagement/Retention Strategies That Cults Use

On the flip side, to create more safeguards for minors regarding Big Social Media, that means you need more information presented and given, and does anyone here actually believe that information won't be breached and weaponized as well? What about privacy? And should a legion of elected officials as grifter geriatrics who run our country, none of them even close to be "digital natives", be the ones to push effective legislation regarding platforms they likely barely understand at all?

"It's a private business and they can do what they want!" is just not enough here to address the incalculable risk and harm at stake. Especially considering those least capable to defend themselves. And demanding parents to "do better" is asking far too much given the complex kind of pure onslaught against them here.

This might look like a topic that fits better in the Free For All. But it's not. Because so much of the context gets very ugly, very brutal and very political.

Should Minors Be Legally Banned/Restricted From Using Social Media?

Why or why not? Or to what age or other limit do you think that it should go? Or are you content with the current outcome and process?

Do you support removal/reform of Section 230? Why or why not?

What is your view of Big Social Media making an aggressive push to market itself and push growth by targeting younger and younger children?

Can Elon Musk make a difference here if the sale of Twitter goes through as planned?

What is your own positive/negative experiences with social media? What about for your kids?

I'll leave this here for others to discuss.


Direct Headline: Facebook used Big Tobacco playbook to exploit teens and children, senators say at hearing after WSJ series

....“In truth, Facebook has taken Big Tobacco’s playbook....It has hidden its own research on addiction and the toxic effects of its products, it has attempted to deceive the public and us in Congress about what it knows, and it has weaponized childhood vulnerabilities against children themselves....Instagram is that first childhood cigarette meant to get teens hooked early, exploiting the peer pressure of popularity and ultimately endangering their health....”

...Orrin Hatch, a Republican senator from Utah who has since retired, asked Zuckerberg, “How do you sustain a business model in which users don’t pay for your service?”...It’s commonly known that Facebook has become one of the world’s most valuable companies through its sophisticated advertising that’s used by most of the largest businesses to target potential customers....“Senator, we run ads,” Zuckerberg said.

Salvador Rodriguez Tue, Oct 5 20211:48 PM EDT


Direct Headline: Documents reveal Facebook targeted children as young as 6 for consumer base

Facebook was hiring employees to build out programs for children and young adults...Internal documents show that Facebook has been actively hiring employees to build products that target children as young as 6 to expand its user base....Diagrams illustrate proposed new target age groups, ranging from kids 6 to 9 years old and tweens 10 to 12 years old -- along with existing targets of early teens from 13 to 15 years old, late teens from 16 to 17 years old, and adults....

...Critics of the company say these documents are part of a long-standing pattern of Facebook attempting to attract younger users as early as possible. ...“Facebook and Instagram have repeatedly shown that they simply can’t be trusted when it comes to the well-being of children and teens....They need to focus on cleaning up their existing platforms instead of trying to hook more children to their addictive platforms at younger and younger ages.....”

Facebook responded... “Companies that operate in a highly competitive space — including the Wall Street Journal — make efforts to appeal to younger generations. Considering that our competitors are doing the same thing, it would actually be newsworthy if Facebook didn’t do this work....” ...The documents were included in disclosures made to the Securities and Exchange Commission and provided to Congress in redacted form by legal counsel for Frances Haugen, who worked as a Facebook product manager until May and has come forward as a whistleblower.....

.....A diagram from an April 9 internal post at Facebook titled “The internet wasn’t built with young people in mind, but we’re about to change that” describes how products are offered to different age groups and a vision for future offerings.... explaining how the company plans to expand to audiences below its current threshold of 13. The document cites the Federal Trade Commission’s current regulations around online services directed to children under 13 years old, called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule, or COPPA..... “Despite Facebook’s claims that their motivation for Instagram for Kids is to create a safer experience for preteens, it’s clear the real reason is Facebook is fixated on kids to drive growth. Facebook products aren’t safe for younger children, and a company that consistently puts profits ahead of young people’s well-being has no business building platforms for kids.....”

By Ezra Kaplan and Jo Ling Kent Oct. 29, 2021, 2:06 PM PDT


Direct Headline: How 13 Became the Internet’s Age of Adulthood

At 13, kids are still more than a decade from having a fully developed prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain involved in decision-making and impulse control. And yet parents and educators unleash them on the internet at that age—if not before—because they’re told children in the U.S. must be at least 13 to download certain apps, create email accounts and sign up for social media....Tech companies are just abiding by a 1998 law called the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which was intended to protect the privacy of children ages 12 or under. It’s meant to keep companies from collecting and disseminating children’s personal information....

....But it has inadvertently caused 13 to become imprinted on many parents’ psyches as an acceptable age of internet adulthood.

Just some of the things U.S. 13-year-olds can do online, without parental consent:
• Share photos and stories on Instagram
• Form a Facebook group
• Tweet and retweet on Twitter
• Send and receive Gmail
• Create Google docs
• Create a YouTube channel
• Send disappearing photos on Snapchat
• Post and comment on Reddit
• Create a Pinterest board

“Can you imagine getting a 14-year-old to come off social media until a parent provides verifiable permission?....And then what happens to all of that data?....We’re left in a world where kids who are too young to drive or vote can say and do things online that could haunt them forever....."

By Julie Jargon June 18, 2019 5:30 am ET


Direct Headline: Children under 10 are using social media. Parents can help them stay safe online

....About half of parents of children ages 10 to 12 and 32% of parents of kids ages 7 to 9 reported their child used social media apps..."There continues to be debate over how soon is too soon when it comes to using social apps and how parents should oversee it...." ....Nearly one-third of parents of children ages 7 to 9 reported their kids used social media apps....

The findings are "further evidence that children under 13 are eager to use social media platforms, for whatever reasons -- entertainment, celebrity, connecting with friends, or being drawn in by the engagement-promoting design common on these sites....But 17% of parents of children using social media apps said they didn't use any parental controls -- for reasons such as not being able to find the information they needed to set up parental controls, thinking that monitoring their child's use of social media apps was too time-consuming, or considering it a waste of time because children find ways to bypass parental controls....

"Parents are at such an utter state of burnout at this point of the pandemic, so it's completely reasonable that they feel a sense of overwhelm or futility in trying to keep up with social media platforms that are powered by billions of dollars in revenue and enormous data analytic capacity...In my 2016 study interviewing parents from lower-income, suburban, academic, and technology company backgrounds, the latter two groups felt much more empowered to handle these types of complex conversations and rule-setting...."

By Kristen Rogers, CNN 2:09 PM ET, Mon October 18, 2021



Direct Headline: UP man Arshad Khan befriends minor girl over social media, blackmails her, lures and gang rapes her before slitting her throat, 4 arrested

As per initial investigation, it has come to the fore that Arshad Khan had befriended the minor girl over Instagram and would threaten to either kill himself or harm her if she did not give in to his demands....On March 23, Rajasthan Police arrested one Arshad Khan and his three accomplices in a gang-rape and murder case of a 17-year-old minor girl.....During preliminary investigation, the Police found out that Arshad had lured the minor on Instagram. They had been continuously chatting on social media platforms. Whenever the minor refused anything he had demanded, Arshad would threaten her that he would commit suicide. On the day of the incident, he had threatened he would come to her house, after which she had gone to meet him out of fear of her family....

...Arshad allegedly gang-raped the minor with three of his friends and then slit her throat with a sharp weapon. When the girl did not reach home, her family started searching for her. Later at night, they found her dead body near Karnais. Arshad was sitting near the dead body...Arshad had named himself the Mental Boy on Instagram. It was reported that he had posted videos of sprinkling petrol on himself and setting himself on fire on social media.....

OpIndia Staff 24 March, 2022


Direct Headline: Smugglers Utilize Social Media to Recruit Minors

Rio Grande Valley Sector (RGV) Border Patrol are seeing a trend of Transnational Criminal Organization’s (TCO) using social media to recruit minors for their smuggling operations....RGV Agents have seized over 11,000 pounds of narcotics this fiscal year, which is approximately 43 percent of all narcotics seized by the U.S. Border Patrol across the nation between the ports of entry....With an increase in illicit activity, TCOs require more manpower to carry out their operations. Social media has become an avenue for human smugglers to target juvenile drivers. TCOs are luring minors to smuggle migrants across border towns in the Rio Grande Valley and into the U.S. interior with the promise of fast cash. TCOs convince juvenile drivers that they will not face the same consequences as adults if apprehended or that law enforcement will disengage a pursuit if dangerous conditions are present. The result is an increase in erratic driving by inexperienced drivers, often observed exceeding posted speed limits, and driving against oncoming traffic. The use of social media has allowed local smugglers to expand their network’s reach. New recruits are not only from the Rio Grande Valley. Authorities have arrested drivers from San Antonio, Houston, and other areas, some as young as 13-years old....

By SNN Staff February 10, 2022


Direct Headline: Virginia pastor arrested in prostitution sting

John Blanchard, the pastor of Rock Church in Virginia Beach, is one of 17 men the Chesterfield County Police Special Victims Unit says were looking for sex from minors through (social media) online platforms...."During the two-day operation, detectives intercepted suspects who believed they were soliciting sex from minors..."...The men thought they were talking to minors and were arranging to meet them, but instead they were talking with detectives....

By Elisha Fieldstadt Nov. 3, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT



Direct Headline: Australia plans to force parental consent for minors on social media

Australia plans to make social media companies obtain parental consent for users under the age of 16 and is threatening fines of up to 10 million Australian dollars ($7.5 million) for internet platforms which fail to comply, under draft legislation published on Monday....Social media companies, which include anonymous forums like Reddit and smartphone dating apps like Bumble, would also be required to take all reasonable steps to determine users' ages and prioritize children's interests when collecting data...The new proposed rules would put Australia among the most stringent countries in terms of age controls for social media, and build on efforts to rein in the power of Big Tech....with the ability to fine a corporation up to 10 million Australian dollars, 10% its annual turnover or three times the financial benefit of any breach.....

 Reuters  October 25, 2021


Direct Headline: Blackburn & Blumenthal Introduce Comprehensive Kids’ Online Safety Legislation

The Kids Online Safety Act:

1) Requires that social media platforms provide minors with options to protect their information, disable addictive product features, and opt out of algorithmic recommendations. Platforms would be required to enable the strongest settings by default.

2) Gives parents new controls to help support their children and identify harmful behaviors, and provides parents and children with a dedicated channel to report harms to kids to the platform.

3) Creates a responsibility for social media platforms to prevent and mitigate harms to minors, such as promotion of self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, substance abuse, sexual exploitation, and unlawful products for minors (e.g. gambling and alcohol).

4) Requires social media platforms to perform an annual independent audit that assesses the risks to minors, their compliance with this legislation, and whether the platform is taking meaningful steps to prevent those harms.

5) Provides academic and public interest organizations with access to critical datasets from social media platforms to foster research regarding harms to the safety and well-being of minors. 

Marsha Blackburn February 16, 2022



Direct Headline: A California bill could allow parents to sue social-media companies for up to $25,000 if their children become addicted to the platforms

The bill, co-sponsored and authored by state Assembly member Jordan Cunningham, would allow parents to sue social-media platforms for up to $25,000 per violation on behalf of children....The bill aims to protect "child users" — defined as children under the age of 18 who use a social-media platform — from becoming addicted to social media...According to the bill, social-media addiction is defined as a preoccupation, obsession with, or difficulty to reduce the use of a social-media platform that causes or contributes to mental, emotional, developmental, or physical harm for the user....If passed, the law would only apply to social-media companies that hold at least $100 million in gross revenue — such as Instagram or Facebook...

Beatrice Nolan May 24, 2022, 4:18 AM


Direct Headline: US Plans to Ban Targeted Ads Towards Children on Social Media

In order to protect child safety on social media platforms, Joe Biden announced plans for new laws in the upcoming years....He said that the White House will ask for a special budget for implementing such laws, including $5 million for setting up research on the mental health impact of social media. All his plans are said to be coming as the result of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s leaks last year....

...Popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are repeatedly blamed for abusing the privacy of their users, especially the children. And last year’s admission of Instagram about the depressed mental health of teens on their platform is a shocking revelation....Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc are earlier blamed for not having proper controls for child’s safety online. Also, using targeted ads against them doesn’t seem good....

Manikanta Immann March 2, 2022


Direct Headline: Barack Obama said social media is 'turbocharging some of humanity's worst impulses' and called for reform to Section 230

In a speech about disinformation at Stanford University on Thursday, the former president said the modern internet landscape was "one of the biggest reasons for democracy's weakening" and was "turbocharging some of humanity's worst impulses...." ...."Not all these effects are intentional or even avoidable, they're simply the consequence of billions of humans suddenly plugged into an instant 24/7 global information stream....But not all problems we're seeing now are an inevitable by-product of this new technology. They're also the result of very specific choices made by the companies that have come to dominate the internet generally and social media platforms in particular...."

He suggested reforming Section 230, a US law that broadly protects tech companies from liability for things users post on their platforms, and guards their right to moderate content as they see fit....."In a democracy we can rightly expect companies to subject the design of their products and services to some level of scrutiny. At minimum they should have to share that information with researchers and regulators who are charged with keeping the rest of us safe....."

Isobel Asher Hamilton Apr 22, 2022, 2:19 AM


Direct Headline: How Twitter’s child porn problem ruined its plans for an OnlyFans competitor

By Zoe Schiffer and Casey Newton Aug 30, 2022, 2:00 PM UTC

In the spring of 2022, Twitter considered making a radical change to the platform. After years of quietly allowing adult content on the service, the company would monetize it. The proposal: give adult content creators the ability to begin selling OnlyFans-style paid subscriptions, with Twitter keeping a share of the revenue. Had the project been approved, Twitter would have risked a massive backlash from advertisers, who generate the vast majority of the company’s revenues. But the service could have generated more than enough to compensate for losses. OnlyFans, the most popular by far of the adult creator sites, is projecting $2.5 billion in revenue this year — about half of Twitter’s 2021 revenue — and is already a profitable company....

Some executives thought Twitter could easily begin capturing a share of that money since the service is already the primary marketing channel for most OnlyFans creators. And so resources were pushed to a new project called ACM: Adult Content Monetization....Before the final go-ahead to launch, though, Twitter convened 84 employees to form what it called a “Red Team.” The goal was “to pressure-test the decision to allow adult creators to monetize on the platform, by specifically focusing on what it would look like for Twitter to do this safely and responsibly,” according to documents obtained by The Verge and interviews with current and former Twitter employees....

...What the Red Team discovered derailed the project: Twitter could not safely allow adult creators to sell subscriptions because the company was not — and still is not — effectively policing harmful sexual content on the platform....“Twitter cannot accurately detect child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity at scale,” the Red Team concluded in April 2022. The company also lacked tools to verify that creators and consumers of adult content were of legal age, the team found. As a result, in May — weeks after Elon Musk agreed to purchase the company for $44 billion — the company delayed the project indefinitely. If Twitter couldn’t consistently remove child sexual exploitative content on the platform today, how would it even begin to monetize porn? ....

Launching ACM would worsen the problem, the team found. Allowing creators to begin putting their content behind a paywall would mean that even more illegal material would make its way to Twitter — and more of it would slip out of view. Twitter had few effective tools available to find it....But that did little to change the problem at hand — one that employees from across the company have been warning about for over a year. According to interviews with current and former staffers, as well as 58 pages of internal documents obtained by The Verge, Twitter still has a problem with content that sexually exploits children. Executives are apparently well-informed about the issue, and the company is doing little to fix it....

...“While the amount of CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation) online has grown exponentially, Twitter’s investment in technologies to detect and manage the growth has not,” begins a February 2021 report from the company’s Health team. “Teams are managing the workload using legacy tools with known broken windows. In short (and outlined at length below), [content moderators] are keeping the ship afloat with limited-to-no-support from Health.”...Employees we spoke to reiterated that despite executives knowing about the company’s CSE problems, Twitter has not committed sufficient resources to detect, remove, and prevent harmful content from the platform....

....An NCMEC analysis cited by Twitter’s working group found that of the 1 million reports submitted each month, 84 percent contain newly-discovered CSE — none of which would be flagged by PhotoDNA. In practice, this means Twitter is likely failing to detect a significant amount of illegal content on the platform....Twitter failed to remove the videos, “allowing them to be viewed by hundreds of thousands of the platform’s users”...The 2021 report found that the processes Twitter uses to identify and remove CSE are woefully inadequate — largely manual at a time when larger companies have increasingly turned to automated systems that can catch material that isn’t flagged by PhotoDNA. Twitter’s primary enforcement software is “a legacy, unsupported tool” called RedPanda, according to the report. “RedPanda is by far one of the most fragile, inefficient, and under-supported tools we have on offer,” one engineer quoted in the report said.....

....Earlier this year, NCMEC accused Twitter of leaving up videos containing “obvious” and “graphic” child sexual abuse material in an amicus brief submitted to the ninth circuit in John Doe #1 et al. v. Twitter. “The children informed the company that they were minors, that they had been ‘baited, harassed, and threatened’ into making the videos, that they were victims of ‘sex abuse’ under investigation by law enforcement,” the brief read. Yet, Twitter failed to remove the videos, “allowing them to be viewed by hundreds of thousands of the platform’s users.”....

....While all of that unfolded, Twitter had become a major destination for another type of content: porn. In the nearly four years since Tumblr banned adult content, Twitter had become one of the only mainstream sites that allows users to upload sexually explicit photos and videos. It also attracted a significant number of performers who use Twitter to market and grow their businesses, using photos and short video clips as advertisements for paywalled services like OnlyFans....“Adult content was a huge differentiator for Twitter, and for those [working] on revenue, it was an untapped resource,” a former employee says.....



Twitter wanted to monetize porn on it's platform. But they slow walked and failed to stay up to date with the needed logistical changes and practical administration to support that.

The sacrifice? Children.

The only reason Twitter stopped wasn't the studies into the failures of their existing and outdated legacy systems, it was because Elon Musk showed up and would overturn the entire apple cart.

Big Social Media is clearly targeting children to keep expanding it's growth. And it's profit margin. If those kids turn into cannon fodder and prey for sexual predators that are enabled, yet again for money, then it appears pre Elon Musk Twitter HQ saw that as only collateral damage. They want to do as little as possible to make sure they don't get sued or don't get too much bad PR, but as long as the dollars flow, then there is clearly a certain amount of pure carnage they will pretend not to see.

"They" are coming after your children. Social media is the conduit to make it happen. Children should not be on social media.
This is an interesting topic. I do think that social media might be a net negative overall to society and definitely to minors. Bullying via social media is a serious concern.

Should Minors Be Legally Banned/Restricted From Using Social Media?

Why or why not? Or to what age or other limit do you think that it should go? Or are you content with the current outcome and process?

I'm generally not a fan of banning social media for minors, mostly because I think it would be ineffective. Plenty of kids just lie about their age already to get on Facebook. I think it should be mostly up to parents to regulate social media for their children. There should be more information around the harms of social media to help parents make better decisions. I think most parents are unaware of the issues until it is too late.

Do you support removal/reform of Section 230? Why or why not?

No. It will only make it easier for the current players to extend their dominance. Smaller companies would never be able to survive without section 230.

What is your view of Big Social Media making an aggressive push to market itself and push growth by targeting younger and younger children?

Its scummy. But if it's legal then a company will do it. They have no responsibility to be good citizens, just maximize profits for their shareholders. As long as they think it will be profitable then they will do it. I do think there should be regulations around advertising to minors and protecting their privacy.

Can Elon Musk make a difference here if the sale of Twitter goes through as planned?

No idea.

What is your own positive/negative experiences with social media? What about for your kids?

I used to like social media until they ruined it with misinformation and advertising. I loved seeing random photos from friends and relatives. I hate what it's become.
I'm just glad GG is back. he makes the right people sour by asking the right questions
Good contribution. Do you have any thoughts on the topic of the thread?
yes several. I think the American left cozing up to the red Chinese is a bad idea. an having the Democrat president owing them something is a bad idea.
You might be in the wrong thread because those have nothing to be with the topic. This one is about whether minors should be banned from social media. Any thoughts on that subject?
From my experiences raising kids and coaching I think the negatives are very easy to see and for some kids the negatives can be very strong…I know that is a very generic statement but I think it is pretty obvious…if kids did not have access to social media until they were 18 what would the downside/negatives be…I can’t really think of them but would like to hear what others think they are.

"A London coroner has blamed social media for the suicide of 14-year-old Molly Russell.

In a global first, a London coroner has blamed social media for the suicide of a teenage girl — potentially opening the legal floodgates against industry heavyweights like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok.

But the tragic case of Molly Russell could also point the way toward life-saving legislative reforms. That is, if Big Tech doesn’t pull the plug...."

"....Activists in the US — where suicide in the 12-to-16 age group increased by 146% between 2009 and 2019 — saw the ruling as a breakthrough.

“It is a huge development,” attorney Matthew P. Bergman of the Seattle-based Social Media Victims Law Center told The Post. Bergman has filed suit against the social-media giants on behalf of seven American families who lost their kids to internet-related suicide, with dozens more cases in the works.

“It’s the first time that a social media company has been adjudicated to be a cause of a child’s suicide,” Bergman said."
My girls (15 & 13) don't do social media outside of Pinterest and viewing YouTube. I'm sure they view tiktok as well. They really want snapchat accounts to talk with their friends but we are holding the line.

My oldest struggles with anxiety anyways - adding social media to the mix could be really bad.
My daughter is 7 and we are very engaged with and pay attention to her iPad usage. We finally relented and allowed roblox without the chat. Before this ipad was for Disney+ or YouTube kids only. I despise social media (here and a very curated twitter is all I have) so we will hold off for as long as possible with her then monitor heavily afterwards.
First, I didn't read a word (at least directly) of the original poster's numerous walls of text and merely read the thread title. Second, I assume that parental decisions for their children are not what is meant here in part because as of now the thread title says, "legally banned". Third, I'm skipping ahead and just assuming for sake of argument that there is a consensus that social media should be banned. So given these three background items the question is pretty simple-

How does one propose accomplishing such a ban? I cannot imagine any discussion no matter how solid the consensus might be, no matter how large the perceive threat might be seriously surviving this question.
It seems conservatives on this board really want a nanny state where choice and responsibility is stripped from parents. Meanwhile, they attack those same social media companies for attempting to manage the flow of misinformation on their platforms as though that's not equally detrimental to society.

As BS asked, how exactly would a ban be implemented? Would this be the same method of banning that is easily circumvented by kids when it comes to internet porn and downloading free music?
well I think its really the parents responsibly ....

I'll say this ... I think most people would agree porn is bad for kids, and yet .... if parents checked their kids phones, they're find porn on it and likely child porn (meaning the kids sent pics of themselves)

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