Sephora Baby, Meta Boosts AI Amid Child Safety Allegations, and a TikTok Reality Show

Words by
Jackie Baucom

JAN 25, 2024

Sephora Baby, Meta Boosts AI Amid Child Safety Allegations, and a TikTok Reality Show

Welcome to this week’s top safe-tech news. Let’s jump in!

NYC Mayor Designates Social Media a Public Health Hazard

New York City Mayor, Eric Adams, designates social media as a public health hazard in the city, calling for responsibility from tech companies to protect kids and teens’ mental well-being.

Adams also called social media an “environmental toxin” as part of his State of the City address.

He joins a growing list of leaders speaking boldly against the harms of social media on young people.

ABC News: New York City mayor declares social media an ‘environmental toxin’

Apple Update to Protect Devices Against Theft

Apple’s latest software update introduces “Stolen Device Protection” to make iPhones more secure.

The new feature uses biometric data (Face ID or Touch ID) and location tracking to provide an added layer of protection to sensitive information when users are away from familiar locations.

While safeguards are never infallible — and ways around them will always be explored — it’s good news to see tech advancements that protect users.

CNN: Apple security update to safeguard against thieves now available

Meta Allegedly Exposes 100,000 Minors to Explicit Content Daily

Meta, parent of Instagram and Facebook, is being accused in a New Mexico lawsuit of recommending inappropriate content to minors and promoting underage accounts to predators.

Internal docs reveal concerns about child sexual harassment, with 100,000 minors exposed to explicit content daily.

Meta denies the allegation, citing mischaracterization and emphasizing safety tool investment. 

Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, will testify before Congress at the end of the month so more to come on this story. Stay tuned.

Wall Street Journal: Children on Instagram and Facebook Were Frequent Targets of Sexual Harassment, State Says

A Sephora Baby? What’s That?

TikTok influencers that target kids with high-end skincare products has led to the trending of the term “Sephora Baby.”

Tweens are flocking to Sephora, making it a popular after-school spot. 

Sephora employees note a shift from well-behaved young shoppers to a disruptive “free-for-all,” attributing the issue to parenting and social media influence.

Huff Post: The ‘Sephora Baby’ Craze Has Tweens Obsessed With Anti-Aging

Meta Focusing on AI Initiatives

Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently revealed a reorganization of the company’s AI initiatives, aiming to advance projects FAIR and GenAI towards achieving human-level computer systems. 

The ultimate goal is to develop open-source general intelligence. 

Parents should pay close attention as AI becomes more and more incorporated into platforms that kids use.

NBC News: Meta is pouring money into the creation of human-level artificial intelligence

Can AI Improve the Medical System?

Google’s AI system, Articulate Medical Intelligence Explorer (AMIE), surpassed human doctors in a study where actors, unaware of the communicator’s identity, preferred AMIE’s handling of medical conditions. 

The study, not yet peer-reviewed, had AMIE outperform 20 clinicians in diagnosing patients through text conversations. 

Both actors and a panel of physicians favored AMIE across various metrics, highlighting its potential as a diagnostic dialogue tool, though some experts emphasize the importance of human relationships in medicine.

Fox News: Next-gen Tech Outsmarts Doctors With More Accurate Diagnoses and Better Bedside Manner

TikTokers on a 9-Month Cruise Become a Sensation

A 274-night cruise traveling to 65 countries, has become a TikTok sensation.

Labeled a “nine-month TikTok reality show,” viewers are following along to dissect cruise videos, speculate on potential drama, and even create virtual bingo cards.

Videos with #UltimateWorldCruise have garnered over 138 million views.

Despite expectations, most cruise content is pretty mundane, but TikTokers on the cruise have become famous.

The allure of social media fame captivates many kids, drawing them into a world where the promise of attention and validation fuels their pursuit of recognition and popularity online.

New York Times: A 9-Month Cruise is TikTok’s Favorite New ‘Reality Show’

New Instagram Feature Meant to Help Teens 

Instagram introduced a new feature called “nighttime nudges” to limit late-night usage among teens.

Reminders will appear after 10 minutes of usage after 10 p.m., encouraging teens to put the app away and rest.

Teens can’t opt out of receiving the alerts but the alerts can be dismissed.

While this certainly isn’t a cure-all for the harms caused by social media, it is nice to see things moving in the right direction.

TechCrunch: Instagram’s new ‘nighttime nudges’ aim to reduce teens’ time on the app

What did we miss?

Did we miss anything this week? Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to fit it in next week.

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