Young people are a highly vulnerable group on social media. Current research (summarised here https://www.nspcc.org.uk/services-and-resources/research-and-resources/2015/how-safe-are-our-children-2015/ ) suggests that 1 in 3 have been victims of cyber bullying and 1 in 4 have experienced something upsetting on a social media site. The ‘Digital Wildfire’ project (www.digitalwildfire.org) explores the spread of provocative and antagonistic content on social media and seeks to identify opportunities for the responsible governance of digital social spaces. As part of this we have spent time engaging with young people and school teachers to find out their views on social media and the harms it can cause.
Scanning through the BBC’s online technology articles this week, I found my interest piqued by the news that Amazon have launched a lawsuit against 1,114 individuals offering review services in exchange for payment. The online marketplace site through which these users were operating, Fiverr, seemed oddly familiar and I soon realised why.
Starting some time in the middle of last week, much of the social media related news coverage has been dominated by the so called ‘positivity app’ Peeple that proposes to let people give ratings about other people, and the outright negative response it has elicited in the vast majority of people (including us). Since any such endeavor obviously steps into a massive “ethics minefield”, CaSMa was naturally attracted to looking into this a bit more.
This week Facebook launched its bid for capturing and building the market in personal digital assistant services (for now only available to select groups of people in San Francisco). Facebook’s ‘M‘ interacts with the user via the Facebook Messenger app, but as with the competitors Siri (Apple), Now (Google), Cortana (Microsoft) and Echo (Amazon), the serious work is done through cloud services.
As social media relentlessly works to establish itself as a mainstay in all aspects of our communication, three consequences become increasingly evident: the constant remapping of social media to serve new purposes threatens to make digital competencies a requirement even for those who currently consider themselves safe from it; the more social media develops in complexity and utility, the more it reveals new associated dangers; there are tremendous intellectual and economic opportunities stemming from the need to address both these issues.
Continue reading Personal risk and social media. Holiday reading
On April 9th the first two iRights Youth Juries were held at University of Nottingham. In collaboration with the civil society initiative, iRights, and Prof. Coleman’s lab from University of Leeds, CaSMa will be running 12 Youth Juries to allow children and young people to have a say about their rights on the internet. At the Youth Juries groups of 10 to 15 participants, aged 12-17, are asked to consider, debate and share ideas about the future of the internet.
This week saw a slight shift in focus for one member of the CaSMa team, as Chris went out to speak to doctoral students about how social media can be used not only as a promising site for academic research, but to raise the profile of their work and professional reputation as researchers.