Lawmakers are asking Zuckerberg to scrap Instagram for kids, social media is tearing us apart, and on the heels of a cyberattack against a U.S. pipeline, experts say that governments need to take cybersecurity more seriously.
That’s all the news that’s trending today, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Wednesday, May 12, and I’m your host Tom Li.
Facebook’s plan for an Instagram app for children under 13 is already facing heavy resistance. On Monday, 44 U.S. attorney generals signed a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to scrap the idea. Instagram’s terms of service forbids children under 13 to use the platform, but doesn’t have a strict age verification system. Facebook says that a platform designed specifically for the lower age bracket would give parents more control over what their kids are doing. While it appears good on paper, some people aren’t buying it, claiming that it’s just a way to market to children at a younger age. The attorney’s general’s letter to Zuckerberg noted that young children may not understand what’s appropriate to share online nor the permanency of their content.
Finding yourself arguing more on social media? You’re not alone. A new NBC news poll found that a majority of Americans believe that social media is dividing the people. According to its numbers, 66 per cent of American adults use social media at least once a day, and 64 per cent thinks social media do more to divide. Only 27 per cent believes that social media unites people. Over the years, social media has used AI algorithms to profile their uses and serve content that most align with their interests. This creates a virtual echo chamber where the user’s beliefs are reinforced. In addition, everything from their interface to content have been tweaked to be as addictive as possible. In 2020, Statista says the number of Facebook users in Canada was 25.19 million and is projected to grow to 26.75 million by 2025. The current Facebook usage penetration in Canada is about 64 percent of the population.
And lastly, cybersecurity became the flavour of the week after a ransomware attack shutdown a major U.S. oil pipeline operation. Now, experts are once again emphasizing the risk they pose to our critical infrastructure. Queen’s University’ professor Christian Leuprecht criticized Ottawa for not prioritizing cybersecurity. The government’s lack of interest is reflected in the scarce funding in the federal budget. Leupercht underscored ransomware’s dangers in particular, calling it the most prolific cybersecurity threat out there today.