Anonymous social media trolls who abuse tennis players face being unmasked after technology breakthrough

Elva Mankin

Anonymous trolls who attack tennis players online face being unmasked in a major breakthrough in the sport’s fight against social media abuse.

The betting-data company Sportradar conducted a pilot investigation into around 70 abusive messages sent to the players at exhibition events in Germany and the USA. They discovered the real identities of 21 different culprits.

Some of those names – which were drawn from 12 different countries – have now been passed to police forces in the relevant jurisdictions. In other cases, social-media companies have been advised to shut down the abusers’ accounts, including the everyday accounts they use to communicate with friends and family.

Tennis players receive streams of hostile messages on social media platforms – mainly Instagram and Twitter – every time they play, and especially from disappointed bettors after they lose. Trolls are particularly harsh on women and BAME players.

After participating in the Exo-Tennis event

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Online prayers. Social distancing in the pews. Christian leaders debate how to do church amid pandemic.

Elva Mankin

On a recent Sunday, Rod Loy, senior pastor at the First Assembly of God in North Little Rock, Arkansas, delivered the message of the Gospel through his computer screen.

“It’s easy to live out your faith when everything is going good,” he preached to his congregation. “But the real test is difficult. How does your faith hold up when the doctor gives you a bad report, the kids get bad grades, and you can’t pay your bills? How does your faith hold up when you lose your job in the middle of a pandemic? The true test of faith is a difficulty, hardship and persecution.” 

As he spoke, members of the church typed “amen” in the comment section. The church has been using Facebook to livestream its services for the past couple of months.  

Across the U.S., faith leaders are debating how they can continue to pray in fellowship with

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Blind teen captivates social media with reading and writing lesson: ‘This blows my mind’

Elva Mankin

A British TikToker has captivated social media with a simple explanation of how she both creates and consumes online content as a blind person.

Gracie Marsh, a 19-year-old disability advocate from England who went blind at age 14 due to Septo-optic dysplasia, shared a now-viral video on July 28 explaining how she operates her BrailleNote HumanWare Touch+.

Marsh demonstrates how the tablet, which allows those with visual impairments to read and write with ease, functions as she walks viewers through the keyboard’s nine main buttons — the backspace, enter and space bars, as well as the six keys representing the six dots that make up the braille system.

The device also comes equipped with a touchscreen, which Marsh says is particularly useful for “teachers and sighted peers.”

Her insightful video has since racked up over 1.5M views on TikTok alone, plus 2.2M more on Twitter, along with tons of

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Prince Harry likens social media to lead poisoning, calling it harmful to children

Elva Mankin

Prince Harry hosts the draws for the Rugby League World Cup 2021 in London on Jan. 16, 2020. <span class="copyright">(Getty Images)</span>
Prince Harry hosts the draws for the Rugby League World Cup 2021 in London on Jan. 16, 2020. (Getty Images)

Prince Harry wants social media companies to “redesign themselves” in pursuit of a digital landscape that’s less divided, less hate-filled, and healthier and happier for all involved. Especially for children.

In a new piece written for Fast Company, the Duke of Sussex said he and his wife, Meghan, started working in July to communicate with executives at various tech companies. At the same time, a social-justice campaign called Stop Hate for Profit was urging advertisers to withhold their ad purchases from Facebook for a month.

“Our message was clear: The digital landscape is unwell and companies like yours have the chance to reconsider your role in funding and supporting online platforms that have contributed to, stoked, and created the conditions for a crisis of hate, a crisis of health, and

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3 ways to promote social skills in homebound kids

Elva Mankin

<span class="caption">Too much time screen time can lead to lower self-esteem.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/photo/teen-boy-plays-game-on-digital-tablet-at-home-royalty-free-image/1146552988" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SDI Productions/E+ via Getty Images">SDI Productions/E+ via Getty Images</a></span>
Too much time screen time can lead to lower self-esteem. SDI Productions/E+ via Getty Images

With the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic getting worse in most of the country, a growing number of school districts from San Francisco to Atlanta have determined that a return to daily in-person instruction isn’t yet safe or viable. They aim to to stick with remote learning as the school year gets underway.

Based on my research about the psychological effects of digital technology, I’ve seen that when children and teens spend a great deal of time isolated at home and gazing at screens their social skills and self-esteem can suffer and they may become lonelier. Fortunately, there are ways to lower those risks while young people spend way more time than usual at home.

Teenage boy sits in chair playing a video game on a big flat screen.
Teenage boy sits in chair playing a video game on a big flat screen.

1. Practice paying attention to other

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Egypt female social media influencers get two-year jail terms

Elva Mankin

Cairo (AFP) – An Egyptian court Monday sentenced five female social media influencers to two years in jail each on charges of violating public morals, a judicial source said.

The verdict against Haneen Hossam, Mowada al-Adham and three others came after they had posted footage on video-sharing app TikTok.

“The Cairo economic court sentenced Hossam, Adham and three others to two years after they were convicted of violating society’s values,” the judicial source said.

The ruling, which can be appealed, included a fine of 300,000 Egyptian pounds ($18,750) for each defendant, the source noted.

Hossam was arrested in April after posting a three-minute clip telling her 1.3 million followers that girls could make money by working with her.

In May, authorities arrested Adham who had posted satirical videos on TikTok and Instagram, where she has at least two million followers.

Lawyer Ahmed Hamza al-Bahqiry said the young women are facing

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Egypt female social media influencers get 2-year jail terms

Elva Mankin

Cairo (AFP) – An Egyptian court Monday sentenced five female social media influencers to two years in jail on charges of violating public morals, a judicial source said.

The verdict against Haneen Hossam, Mowada al-Adham and three others came after they posted footage on video-sharing app TikTok.

“The Cairo economic court sentenced Hossam, Adham and three others to two years after they were convicted of violating society values,” the source said.

The ruling — which can be appealed — included a fine of 300,000 Egyptian pounds ($18,750) each, the source added.

Hossam was arrested in April after posting a three-minute clip telling her 1.3 million followers that girls could make money by working with her.

In May, authorities arrested Adham who had posted satirical videos on TikTok and Instagram, where she has at least two million followers.

The arrests highlighted a social divide in the deeply conservative Muslim country over

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Asking the big social media companies to remove extremist content more quickly will do little to fight terrorism

Elva Mankin

'We believe doctors dealing with erectile dysfunction should also be asking about watching pornography,' researchers say: Getty
‘We believe doctors dealing with erectile dysfunction should also be asking about watching pornography,’ researchers say: Getty

Barely a day goes by when social media is not in the firing line from activists and advertisers over hate speech and racist rhetoric.

The controversy goes to the heart of the debate about the extent to which social media platforms should become the arbiter of content decisions and whether internet companies should be solely responsible for dealing with abhorrent content posted by users. Facebook and Twitter are both doing more than ever to reduce “online harms” – certainly much more than is legally mandated – but work carried out by Tech Against Terrorism shows that the majority of activity by terrorists and violent extremists has now shifted to the smaller, newer messaging apps, and niche social networks.

We need to acknowledge that, for all the understandable focus on the bigger platforms, it

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Social media firms make $1bn a year from anti-vax followers, report says

Elva Mankin

Conspiracy theorists at Hyde Park Corner on 16 May 2020 in London: Getty
Conspiracy theorists at Hyde Park Corner on 16 May 2020 in London: Getty

Social media platforms are making up to $1bn a year from people following anti-vaccine misinformation that could cause “tens of thousands” of coronavirus deaths, researchers say.

The Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) said the number of people viewing pages and posts claiming that a Covid-19 vaccine is unnecessary or would pose a health risk had risen dramatically during the pandemic.

Despite pledges by Facebook and others to crack down on harmful posts, a report found that at least 57 million users now follow anti-vaxxers on mainstream platforms across the UK and US – up 7.7 million since the start of the outbreak.

A YouGov poll suggested that almost one in five British adults say they would refuse the injection if it becomes available, and a further 15 per cent are unsure.

The research suggested that people

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Will the Facebook advertising boycott force the social media giant to change? Not likely

Elva Mankin

Hundreds of advertisers say they won’t spend money on Facebook in July or beyond over concerns the social media company isn’t doing enough to stop hate speech.  But the exodus of spenders may not be enough to push CEO Mark Zuckerberg to make the level of change that critics are demanding. 

Critics have an initial list of 10 recommendations that they say would help Facebook corral hate speech and make civil rights a priority when moderating content.

Zuckerberg and top executives, who have agreed to meet with the civil rights groups behind the Stop Hate for Profit boycott this week, plan to release the company’s third civil rights audit, which Facebook says will address many of the activists’ concerns, as well as other policy changes that were already under consideration.

The pressure on Facebook seems intense, but it may not be as powerful as the headlines make it appear.

Brands

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