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Digital witchcraft: the rise of the virtual coven

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Technology has driven witchcraft from the fringes, right into our Instagram feeds

If you’ve seen tarot, crystals or meditation pop up on your TikTok ‘for you page,’ it’s likely that you’ve stumbled across #witchtok. As interest in traditional religion dwindles, young women are using this space to reclaim their spirituality.

The unexpected rise of #witchtok

The ‘witchtok’ hashtag has racked up a total of over 11 billion views since it kicked off on TikTok in 2019. Since then, the community has established an impressive following on other social platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

https://www.tiktok.com/@witchtokboy/video/6967155116147215621?lang=en&is_copy_url=0&is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6968266470396872193

So what is witchcraft, and why is it so popular online?

David Garland from Pagan Awareness Network says anyone can do witchcraft. He says it’s a craft you can develop with practice, much like knitting.

“Witchcraft is the act of invoking change using your environment.”

David Garland, Pagan Awareness Network

Garland says the Pagan community should embrace #witchtok. “If it makes people think and consider spiritual alternatives, then it’s not a bad thing,” he said.

Spirituality without the rules

The interest in witchcraft driven by #witchtok comes at a time where young people are increasingly turning away from traditional religion.

Danae Moon Thorpe, owner of Spellbox and self-proclaimed witch says many young people are drawn to the community’s founding ideas of empowerment and self-determination. 

“We live in a world that’s increasingly turning away from spirituality,” she says.

“Religion often brings dogma and rules. This is like a philosophy, a way of connecting. It’s a way of being. And it’s different for everyone.”

Danae Moon Thorpe

Rise of the wellness industry

Another reason for the sudden interest in digital witchcraft might even be the rise of the wellness industry.

Wellness is a $700 billion industry and expected to grow to nearly a trillion by 2021.

To me, self care is being real. And being authentic. Often, we lose ourselves so witchcraft is always about connecting with nature and others,” says Danae Moon.

The feminist reclamation

There’s a reason the new witches are primarily young women – experts say witchcraft can be a profoundly feminist practice.

“The major religions of the world are patriarchal and worship men,” says Skye Alexander, author of more than two dozen books on spirituality, including The Modern Guide to Witchcraft. 

“This stimulates an interest in goddess-based spirituality, where it’s all about feminine energy and power.”

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Electronic Entertainment Expo stuns gamers!

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Gaming fans have been keeping a keen eye on the Electronic Entertainment Expo this week.

Big game publishers have not disappointed… With a host of new games on the way there is barely enough space to mention them all here!

Studios like Nintendo, Microsoft, Capcom, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Square Enix and Sega (to name a few) have been sharing their latest games and hardware this week!

Independent developers have also had their chance to shine with small studios sharing heartfelt and clever games that – at times, outshine the big players.

Halo: Infinite will have free to play multiplayer across Xbox and PC

One game in particular has shone bright – Halo: Infinite is promising a return to form with the series now offering free Multiplayer which looks set to boost the communities numbers – 343 industries has promised that fans both old and new will find something to enjoy!

Battlefield 2042 feels like a love letter to fans of the series offering a “return to all-out war”

Battlefield continued to excite fans with a new gameplay reveal and the game even looks well placed to dethrone their competitors – Call Of Duty: Warzone when it releases in October.

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WhatsApp launches privacy campaign following backlash

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WhatsApp has launched its first privacy-focused advertising campaign, following major backlash

Millions in the UK stopped using WhatsApp, thanks to new privacy changes that were implemented at the start of the year.

The messaging platform is standing firm against pressure from governments that want to compromise the way that it encrypts messages.

WhatsApp’s boss says governments shouldn’t be out there trying to encourage tech companies to offer weak security.

Authorities should “demand more security” rather than less, WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart told the media.

“The first step of keeping people safe is, you have to have strong security, and we think governments shouldn’t be out there trying to encourage tech companies to offer weak security,”

“They should be out there trying to encourage or even mandate that companies offer the strongest security possible.”

WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption, which means messages can only be read on the device which sends one and the device which receives it. WhatsApp itself – and by default its parent company Facebook – cannot view or intercept them, and neither can law enforcement.

The marketing campaign is set to run internationally, beginning in the UK and Germany today.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has described the use of end-to-end encryption as “not acceptable” in the fight against the sharing of illegal content.

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Business

McDonald’s hit by cyber attack – Here’s what’s been breached:

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McDonald’s has been McHacked

McDonald’s is the latest leading company to be hit by a data breach, exposing customers’ details.

The world’s largest fast-food chain restaurant confirmed cyber hackers have tapped into customer files.

The recent breach last Friday affects customers in South Korea and Taiwan, including e-mail, delivery addresses, and phone numbers.

The chain confirmed that it recently hired external consultants to investigate unauthorised activity on an internal security system, prompted by a specific incident in which the unauthorised access was cut off a week after it was identified, McDonald’s said.

Payment details have not been breached.

McDonald’s said it wasn’t asked for ransom, nor did it make any payment to the hackers.

Ransomware attacks have disrupted operations at leading companies around the world in recent months including the Colonial Pipeline Co. and meat supplier JBS.

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