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Matt Hancock threatens to ban social media over teen’s suicide—and possibly bruised ego he is still baring

28th January 2019

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Note: This post has been moved from Latest Picks due to length of extended updates.

Mental health: UK could ban social media over suicide images, minister warns (bbc.co.uk).

Matt Hancock: “And I’m not laying out any biscuits for them this time.”

Alas after the suicide of a teenage girl who took her own life in 2017 after viewing disturbing content about suicide on social media with her father saying he believed Instagram “helped kill my daughter” and that online scrapbook and virtual Pin heroin of the fairer sex “Pinterest has a huge amount to answer for” than just hotlinking of images too.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, [Secretary of State for Health and Social Care] Matt Hancock said: “If we think they need to do things they are refusing to do, then we can and we must legislate.”

But he added: “It’s not where I’d like to end up.”

With in full Hancock saying when asked on the show if the UK would go as far as banning or imposing extra taxes on websites that failed to remove harmful content actually said “Ultimately parliament does have that sanction, yes, it’s not where I’d like to end up, in terms of banning them, of course, because there’s a great positive to social media too” (independent.co.uk) and calling on social media giants to “purge” material promoting self-harm and suicide in the wake of links to a teenager’s suicide.

But also perhaps still nursing bruised ego and baring something of a grudge from when before being climbing greasy Tory pole to be trusted to look after the nations health he was Minister of State for Digital and Culture and on the Andrew Marr Show last year having to admit the government does not have the power it needs over social media companies when ten out of fourteen social media companies snubbed his invitation for talks (Latest Picks 20th May 2018) in the wake of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal while, taking Hancock’s threats with a pinch of Atlantic-crossing sea salt, nawty boy Zuck agreed to face a grilling from the EU, reminding how in the 21st rather than the 20th century how very much Lil’ England we are outside of it.

It’s perhaps indicative of his scramble up greasy pole that he now think he, or rather government, now has the power it needs over social media companies.

But seriously, we rebuke China and its great firewall for censoring the internet and social media, should we or social media companies really take Hancock’s threat seriously by thinking we may join them with our own Lil’ English privit fence firewall?

If a ban were in placed, imagine the “destroying our democracy” howls from the Lil’ English Brexiteers that used/got used on Twitter and Facebook to win referendum to stop Brussels’ bureaucrats telling them what to do with their business and where or where not to smear, share and spread it. There’d be more chance of violence on the streets than if they cancelled the lemming jump of the White Cliffs of Dover that is Brexit with a second referendum.

And as to how to go about banning these social media sites when the proposed porn crackdown instigated as distraction tactic by former PM David Cameron is still much behind schedule with plans likely still resembling a selfie of finger up arse that will require viewer to prove their age when the antiquated BBFC finally decide which commercial porn tube to let run it (Blog 7th Jun. 2018).

Although Hancock said he has wrote many cross letters to those social media giants its likely they are still not particularly that concerned about little Matt of Lil’ England at the bottom of their beanstalk with owners of Instagram Facebook probably at some point rolling out their new head of global affairs ex coalition deputy PM Sir Nick Clegg to give him a tummy tickle (Latest Picks 19th Oct. 2018).

Updated 28th January 2019

And so indeed rolled out on cue, and now seemingly titled “vice-president” rather than head of global affairs:

Facebook pledges to do more on self-harm (bbc.co.uk).

Facebook vice president Nick Clegg addresses self harm with reporter
New Facebook vice-president Sir Nick Clegg has told the BBC the firm will do “whatever it takes” to make its social media platforms safer for young people.

Presumably as long as definition of “safe” does not include making them use their real name rather than a pseudonym to make things easier for bullies, trolls and prospective future employers and allowing advertisers to track their every purchase and movement and adding that some “experts say it is wise to keep certain images up because they can also help people find support” but conflictedly admitting again that “he would not let his own children view some graphic examples”.

“I can tell you firstly we’re going to look at this from top to bottom, change everything we’re doing if necessary, to get it right,” Sir Nick said.

“We’re already taking steps soon to blur images, block a number of hashtags that have come to light, and thirdly to continue to work… with the Samaritans and other organisations.”

As well as no doubt at least attempting to get adverts for cotton wool and plasters to go alongside rather than whats new in animal-print in M&S Style & Living: M&S ads and other top brands ‘placed next to self-harm images’ on Instagram—which was ‘blamed for Molly Russell’s suicide’ (thesun.co.uk).

Updated 7th February 2019

But having rolled out Sir Nick to look like he’s really in charge of something, something still needs to be done with the fuss still not going away and, although probably not taking Matt Hancock’s floppy threat seriously, somebody needs to act rather than just putting on one:

Instagram vows to remove all graphic self-harm images from site (bbc.co.uk).

[Head of Instagram] Adam Mosseri said Instagram was trying to balance “the need to act now and the need to act responsibly”.

He added the site was “not where we need to be on the issues of self-harm and suicide”.

Which will likely require rolling out of a self-harm checker bot in conjunction with its notorious nipple checker bot, likely being a reprogrammed bare bum bot after bare bums became non-sexual and okay to post after Kimmie K. posted hers on the platform while #BreakingTheInternet for Paper (celebexposuredigest.blogspot.com, Nov. 2014) having previously suspended RiRi’s account when she posted hers for Lui (celebrityoopsdigest.blogspot.com, May 2014).

But indeed, as with the notorious nipple checker bot’s much publisised mistakes such as banning granny’s Simnel cake mistaking it for nipples (metro.co.uk, Apr. 2016), automated errs will occur; I can see the informing notice now: “That’s a nasty gash you have there. I’m afraid we’re gonna have to shutter those.”

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