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Plans to ban Texas kids from social media

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A new bill in Texas is planning to ban children in the state from using social media

A state representative in Texas has developed a bill, proposing banning all minors from using social media platforms.

The bill wants anyone under the age of 18 in the state prohibited from using all social media. This includes platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

HB896 introduced by Texas Rep. Jared Patterson, will require all social media users to prove their age.

Patterson wants put measures in place to protect children from harmful mental health effects of social media.

The legislation will ban accounts being created by minors. It will also require photo identification to verify that users are over the age of 18 before an account is approved.

The bill will also allow parents to request account removal of their child, and grants enforcement of deceptive trade practices to the Office of the Attorney General if violated.

“The harms social media poses to minors are demonstrable not just in the internal research from the very social media companies that create these addictive products, but in the skyrocketing depression, anxiety, and even suicide rates we are seeing afflict children

We are tremendously grateful for Rep. Jared Patterson’s leadership on keeping this precious population safe, and TPPF is fully supportive of prohibiting social media access to minors to prevent the perpetual harms of social media from devastating the next generation of Texans.”

Greg Sindelar, CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation

Patterson described social media sites as “the pre-1964 cigarette,” with the public believing they were safe before in-depth research provided evidence of their harmful effects.

If the bill is passed, it will be the first of its kind to prohibit minors using social media platforms. It will lookregulate the likes of Meta, and ByteDance regarding minors using its platforms.

Both TikTok and Instagram have minimum age policies requiring users to be at least 13 years of age.

While both platforms enforce age verification measures, users under 13 are still on the platforms. This means parents are largely left to police their children’s use.

Some platforms try to address this issue by providing a range of safety tools for parents.

The level of government intervention proposed in Texas will be interesting to observe if it is passed and how it will be enforced.

It will also be fascinating to watch the societal and cultural impacts of such legislation and if other governments will also jump on board if it is effective.

By Dr Karen Sutherland, University of the Sunshine Coast and Dharana Digital

Dr Karen Sutherland is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast where she designs and delivers social media education and research. Dr Sutherland is also the Co-Founder and Social Media Specialist at Dharana Digital marketing agency focused on helping people working in the health and wellness space.

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Tesla is slashing prices to stay competitive

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Tesla cut the U.S. prices of its Model Y, Model X and Model S vehicles by $2,000 each, days after the first-quarter deliveries of the world’s most valuable automaker missed market expectations.

Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle (EV) maker lowered the prices for its Model Y base variant to $42,990, while the long-range and performance variants are now priced at $47,990 and $51,490, respectively, according to its website.

The basic version of the Model S now costs $72,990 and its plaid variant $87,990. The Model X base variant now costs $77,990 and its plaid variant is priced at $92,900.
Tesla North America also said in a post on X said it would end its referral program benefits in all markets after April 30.

Referral program allows buyers to get extra incentives through referrals from existing customers, a strategy long used by traditional automakers to boost sales.

Musk has postponed a planned trip to India where he was to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and announce plans to enter the South Asian market, Reuters reported on Saturday.
On Monday Reuters reported, citing an internal memo, that the EV maker was laying off more than 10% of its global workforce.
Earlier this month Reuters reported the EV maker had canceled a long-promised inexpensive car, expected to cost $25,000, that investors had been counting on to drive mass-market growth.
The EV maker reported this month that its global vehicle deliveries in the first quarter fell for the first time in nearly four years, as price cuts failed to stir demand.

Tesla is to report first-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

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TikTok launches Instagram competitor ‘Notes’

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TikTok Notes has launched in Australia & Canada as a formidable competitor to Instagram, offering a unique platform for content creation, text and sharing.

“TikTok Notes is a lifestyle platform that offers informative photo-text content about people’s lives, where you can see individuals sharing their travel tips and daily recipes,” reads the official App Store description.

Take note

The app allows users to create content by combining short videos with text-based notes, closely resembling that of Meta’s Instagram.

Whether it’s sharing a quick tutorial, a personal anecdote, or a thought-provoking message, TikTok Notes is positioned to be a formidable social media platform.

Currently, the app is only available for download and “limited testing” in Australia and Canada.

As it gains momentum, the platform is poised to contest Instagram’s established reign in the social media landscape.

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Ramifications of a TikTok ban to impact Open Internet

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The United States’ longstanding advocacy for an open internet faces a critical juncture as Congress considers legislation targeting TikTok.

The proposed measures, including a forced sale or outright ban of TikTok, have sparked concerns among digital rights advocates and global observers about the implications for internet freedom and international norms.

For decades, the U.S. has championed the concept of an unregulated internet, advocating for the free flow of digital data across borders.

However, the move against TikTok, a platform with 170 million U.S. users, has raised questions about the consistency of America’s stance on internet governance.

Read more – Big tech to handover misinformation data

Critics fear that actions against TikTok could set a precedent for other countries to justify their own internet censorship measures.

Russian blogger Aleksandr Gorbunov warned that Russia could use the U.S. decision to justify further restrictions on platforms like YouTube.

Similarly, Indian lawyer Mishi Choudhary expressed concerns that a U.S. ban on TikTok would embolden the Indian government to impose additional crackdowns on internet freedoms.

Moreover, the proposed legislation could complicate U.S. efforts to advocate for an internet governed by international organizations rather than individual countries.

China, in particular, has promoted a vision of internet sovereignty, advocating for greater national control over online content.

A TikTok ban could undermine America’s credibility in urging other countries to embrace a more open internet governed by global standards.

 

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