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U.S. states investigate Instagram’s mental health impact on kids

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The group will be analysing how Meta’s app attracts young people to its platforms and its impact on mental health

Meta, formally known as Facebook, is being investigated by 8 U.S. states for breaking consumer protection laws by trying to attract kids to its platforms.

The group includes attorney generals from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont. 

One attorney general says “Meta has failed to protect young people on its platforms and instead chose to ignore or, in some cases, double down on known manipulations that pose a real threat to physical and mental health — exploiting children in the interest of profit”.

The investigation will look into the methods that the company used to real kids into using and engaging with its social media networks as well as “the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement”.

Nebraska’s attorney general says the probe is vital “when social media platforms treat our children as mere commodities to manipulate for longer screen time engagement and data extraction”.

This follows reports that Instagram’s internal research highlighted the negative mental health impact of the platform on teens.

This led to court hearings where Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen blamed the company of “moral bankruptcy” after leaking thousands of pages of Facebook’s internal research to the media.

Facebook denies the allegations stating that the majority of users have a positive experience on their platforms.

Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

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Sleepover at IKEA: dozens stranded amid snowstorm in Denmark

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Two dozen staff and six customers were forced to stay the night at IKEA as up to 30 centimetres of snow trapped them inside

A furniture showroom in the department store in Aalborg, Denmark, became the bedroom of several people who were unable to safely make it home in time amidst a strong snowstorm.

Store Manager Peter Elmose told the Ekstra Bladet tabloid that people could “pick the exact bed they always have wanted to try.”

People working in a toy shop next door also took to the department store to join in on the fun.

Michelle Barrett, one of the toy shop staff, told Denmark’s public broadcaster, DR, “it’s much better than sleeping in one’s car. It has been nice and warm and we are just happy that they would let us in.” 

“We just laughed at the situation, because we will probably not experience it again,” she added.

Another approximate 300 people had to stay the night at the Aalborg airport to keep out of the storm. 

According to Euronews, the IKEA sleepover consisted of feasting on chips and Swedish cinnamon rolls in the staff canteen before watching television.

“It was a really nice evening, enjoying each other’s company,” Elmose told AFP. 

“Everyone had a full night’s sleep, our mattresses are good.”

And when the shop reopened for business the next morning, all the bedding and sheets had of course been changed.

Unmade beds following the overnight stay at IKEA amid snowstorm. Source: IKEA Aalborg’s Instagram

This comes after 61 people were trapped in a Yorkshire pub for three nights last week.

The several people trapped in the Tan Hill Inn during the storm slept on makeshift beds on the floor, watched movies, had a quiz night and enjoyed a buffet meal.

Some guests even claimed they didn’t want to leave the the pub after enjoying the 17th century hotel’s hospitality.

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Hong Kong to launch China style system

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As Hong Kong and China prepare to resume quarantine-free travel, Hong Kong’s government will introduce a Beijing-style health code from December 10

The Hong Kong Health Code will take note of a user’s real name, address and identification number.

The voluntary app is designed to be compatible with systems in both Macau and Guangdong provinces in southern China.

In mainland China, a mandatory health code dictates where residents and visitors can travel to and from, sharing real-time data with authorities.

The introduction of this health code system in Hong Kong will allow Chinese officials to open back up the nation’s borders with the city-state.

Hong Kong’s chief information officer also says records “won’t be transferred to mainland authorities unless the person is infected or has been a close contact”.

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Meghan Markle wins latest privacy battle case

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A UK court dismissed the appeal brought on by Associated Newspapers Limited, after the company published a letter that she sent to her father, Thomas Markle in 2018.

ANL and the Mail have staunchly denied that they have done anything wrong, standing by the decision to publish the letter.

But the court rejected these claims, and says the Duchess has “a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of the letter.”

The judge continued, adding “the contents were personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest”.

ANL says it is disappointed with the decision and is considering an appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court.

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