Largest lecturers union calls for tech leaders regulate harmful social media challenges

Largest teachers union calls on technology leaders to regulate viral challenges on social media

The National Education Association sent a letter to the leaders of Tik Tok, Facebook and Twitter on Friday urging tech companies to put public safety above profits to protect schools. Emma Goss from KTVU reports.

Teachers across the country are calling on social media company executives to take action to limit viral challenges that encourage destructive and violent behavior in school.

The president of the National Education Association, the country’s largest teachers union, sent a letter to the leaders of Tik Tok, Facebook and Twitter on Friday urging them to change their algorithms that encourage challenges like the #SlapATeacherChallenge and disinformation spread to students.

“We urge your companies to take this threat seriously and to prioritize people’s safety over profit – you can help stop the flow of propaganda that is fueling violence against educators in our communities. Avoid disinformation and violent trends – in the Interest in public education and the future of democracy. To that end, we demand that your companies make public commitments to students, educators and their families, regulate lies and correct your algorithms, putting public safety above profits, “said Rebecca Pringle, president of the NEA, in the letter, which was first shared by the Wall Street Journal.

While Tik Tok has already removed the hashtags surrounding the recent viral video encouraging students to slap their teachers in the face on the video, the content has been migrated to YouTube.

“I saw it on YouTube because sometimes they have Tik Tok videos on YouTube,” said Celeste Howell, a third grader in Alameda, who. The eight-year-old claims she saw a video of a student slapping a teacher while he was browsing YouTube before bed.

“I thought it shouldn’t happen and I felt sorry for the teacher who was beaten,” Celeste said.

Your experience suggests that Tik Tok isn’t the only social media company distributing these videos.

In a statement sent to KTVU, a Tik Tok spokesperson said, “This alleged ‘challenge’ would violate our guidelines and we would aggressively remove such content, but the reality is we have not found any related content on our platform, and most of it People appear to be learning about the offline scale from sources other than TikTok. ”

Facebook and Twitter did not respond to KTVU’s request for comment.

Other challenges, such as the Tik Tok Devious Licks challenge, which encourages students to destroy school toilets, went viral in September, affecting schools in the Bay Area.

At Will C. Wood Middle School in Alameda, students say the girls ‘and boys’ bathrooms have been destroyed in the past few weeks, blaming the Devious Licks Challenge for instigating the destruction.

“One of the stable doors was messed up and a soap dispenser was pulled out of the wall,” said Fawkes Pounzy, an eighth grader in Wood, adding that a student was also caught removing an exit sign from the top of a door at the school.

“It’s not okay to say the least. But they should stop, and I think there should probably be some other kind of regulation,” Fawkes said.

“I don’t think anyone really likes being in control of their challenges, but when things get so out of hand it becomes a need,” said Isla Vessali, an eighth grader at Wood.

Optimizing an algorithm to separate the dangerous social media challenges from the harmless ones may not be as simple or even technically feasible.

“It’s easy to ask for an algorithm to be tinkered with,” said David Greene, director of civil rights at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a Bay Area-based digital rights group.

“I don’t know how doable this is for companies,” Greene said. “I hope we hear from the companies. I hope they tell us whether or not they can do this, or if they have a different approach.”

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