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Brittisk tonåring dog efter "negativa effekter av onlineinnehåll": rättsläkare

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Molly Russell was exposed to online material 'that may have influenced her in a negative way'

Molly Russell was exposed to online material ‘that may have influenced her in a negative way’ – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Philip FONG

A 14-year-old British girl died from an act of self harm while suffering from the “negative effects of online content”, a coroner said Friday in a case that shone a spotlight on social media companies.

Molly Russell was “exposed to material that may have influenced her in a negative way and, in addition, what had started as a depression had become a more serious depressive illness,” Andrew Walker ruled at North London Coroner’s Court.

The teenager “died from an act of self-harm while suffering depression”, he said, but added it would not be “safe” to conclude it was suicide.

Some of the content she viewed was “particularly graphic” and “normalised her condition,” said Walker.

Russell, from Harrow in northwest London, died in November 2017, leading her family to set up a campaign highlighting the dangers of social media.

“There are too many others similarly affected right now,” her father Ian Russell said after the ruling.

“At this point, I just want to say however dark it seems, there is always hope.

“I hope that this will be an important step in bringing about much needed change,” he added.

The week-long hearing became heated when the family’s lawyer, Oliver Sanders, took an Instagram executive to task.

A visibly angry Sanders asked Elizabeth Lagone, the head of hälsa and wellbeing at Meta, Instagram’s parent company, why the platform allowed children to use it when it was “allowing people to put potentially harmful content on it”.

“You are not a parent, you are just a business in America. You have no right to do that. The children who are opening these accounts don’t have the capacity to consent to this,” he said.

Lagone apologised after being shown footage, viewed by Russell, that “violated our policies”.

Of the 16,300 posts Russell saved, shared or liked on Instagram in the six-month period before her death, 2,100 related to depression, self-harm or suicide, the inquest heard.

Children’s charity NSPCC said the ruling “must be a turning point”.

“Tech companies must be held accountable when they don’t make children’s safety a priority,” tweeted the charity.

“This must be a turning point,” it added, stressing that any delay to a government bill dealing with online safety “would be inconceivable to parents”.

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Ny rapport visar att 62% av Facebook-användare stöter på bedrägerier i appen varje vecka [Infographic]

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How often do you encounter scams via email, social media, etc.?

According to new data from cybersecurity firm Lookout, around 62% of Facebook users encounter scams every week, while scam activity ramps up in the holidays – so it’s time to hone your senses to ensure that you don’t fall victim over the coming weeks.

Lookout’s undersökning, which incorporates responses from over 1,000 online consumers, also found that:

  • 19% of social media users have fallen victim to scams on Facebook
  • The most frequent scam encountered on Facebook is ‘Win a Free Prize/ Free Gift’
  • 46% of social media scam victims report losing $100 or more 

Scammers are always evolving their tactics, and shifting strategies to capitalize on the latest trends, so you need to keep your wits about you. If something seems too good to be true, it very likely is, while you should also note telltale security signs (eCommerce site not using HTTPS) and conduct your own web research if things feel off.

You can read the full report from Lookout här, eller ta en titt på infografiska sammanfattningen nedan.

Online scams report

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