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Facebook’s Head of Safety shares tips to keep kids safe online

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New Delhi, February 9

Over the last 12 months, most of us have spent more time online than ever before. In particular, young people have moved beyond using the internet just to connect with friends or research a school assignment.

The internet has become a lifeline and there have been times where young people have spent the majority of their day online during homeschooling. 

While we are fortunate to live in a time where a global pandemic means minimal interruption to education, Safer Internet Day is an opportunity to reflect on what we can do to create a better online world for young people.

Amber Hawkes, Head of Safety, Facebook Asia Pacific shared how parents can navigate online safety of and for their young ones.

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She said: “It can feel overwhelming trying to navigate the ever-changing world of online safety with kids. But the most important thing we can do is to start a dialogue and keep open channels of communication.” Online safety conversations should become part of everyday life – just like conversations about ‘stranger danger’ or crossing the road, and they should start early, she suggested.

“Children are often exposed to devices from birth – even just observing their parents, so it’s never too soon to talk about online safety.” Hawkes pointed out that as part of conversations about online safety, children should understand that access to devices and the internet comes with responsibility. They also have a role to play in keeping themselves and others safe online, she said.

A mother herself, Hawkes admitted that young people are more vulnerable online than others.

“My job at Facebook is to help keep them safe through our products and policies. Beyond the privacy, safety and security features that are available to all Facebook and Instagram users, we also have a number of additional protections in place to protect minors,” she stated.

Adding: “We require everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account on Facebook or Instagram, and in some countries the age limit may be higher. Our privacy and visibility settings are more restrictive for teens than adults. For example, on Facebook, messages sent to minors from adults who are not friends, or friends of friends, are filtered out of the minor’s inbox and sent straight to the spam folder.” The Facebook Parent Portal and Instagram Parent’s Guide can help parents and caregivers and include details on how the apps work, tips on talking to your kids and advice from experts.

Hawkes shared her five top tips for keeping your kids safe online:

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Stay involved in their digital world: Spend time with your kids online. If your kids like playing video games, sit with them while they’re doing this. If your teen is on Facebook or Instagram, have a discussion about friending or following them. Talk to them frequently about who they are connecting with and what they are sharing. Let them know they can come to you if they see or experience something online that makes them feel uncomfortable. 

Use privacy and security settings: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger have settings to give people control over what they share, who they share it with, what they see, and who can contact them. Many of these are turned on by default for minors, but you should run through the privacy and security settings regularly.

Set family rules: Agree as a family on the rules for using devices, accessing the internet and social media and be clear on the consequences for violating these rules. Depending on the age of your kids, you may talk about more serious consequences (such as legal consequences) of sharing certain types of content such as non-consensual intimate imagery.

Lead by example: If you set a rule like ‘no screen time after 8 pm’ or ‘no devices in the bedroom’ – you should try to follow this too.

Learn from your kids: Technology evolves constantly, and young people are fast adopters. If your kids start using a new app, ask them to show you how it works. It’s an opportunity to connect with your child, see what they are doing online and have a conversation about online safety. You should also do your own research on the app’s privacy, safety and security features. IANS

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Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey

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Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. The company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents.

Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.

Yahoo Finance notes, “Facebook has had its share of controversies this year.” Starting in January, Meta-owned WhatsApp got caught up in a huge controversy after the messaging app announced a new privacy policy (Terms of Service). WhatsApp said it would collect user information and share it with third-party apps for a better user experience. However, the app gave users no choice but later made modifications to the policy under pressure. Similarly, the company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents showing the company’s problematic practices. It was revealed that Meta-owned Instagram had a negative impact on teenage girls, but the company did almost nothing to rectify the problem.

Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.

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However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.

On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.

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Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal

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In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.

In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.

Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws

It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.

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Russian social media laws

As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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