CMO

Privacy and security the focus on Safer Internet Day 2021

How TikTok, Optus and Yubo are strengthening the tools user awareness to make their platforms safer

On Safer Internet Day, social media platforms along with several tech companies are looking to send a message about safety and protections, particularly for children.

The Safer Internet Day slogan of 'Together for a better Internet' encourages everyone to join the movement, to participate and to make the most of the Internet’s potential to bring people together.

To help, TikTok is launching a new ‘Get Media Smart’ video series, in partnership with the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, a collection of tips to help navigate misinformation and safer use of online platforms. The six TikTok videos feature popular local creators, @rifenstine and @sakshammagic, and playfully bring to life scenarios that everyday Aussies may encounter as they use the internet and platforms like TikTok.

The videos feature advice on verifying the source of content, controlling their feed, ways to understand the difference between facts and opinions, how to analyse visual images, challenging bias and calling out fakes.

TikTok AN/Z GM, Lee Hunter, said the platform is aiming to take a proactive stance on online safety education on Safer Internet Day, and all year-round.

"The fun and informative content program discusses staying safe online in ways that Aussies - from our younger users, through to their parents - can really engage with in an entertaining way. We're excited to launch our Safer Internet Day program and hope that it becomes a valuable conversation starter and useful tool for our community,” he said.

At the same time, Optus is supporting Safer Internet Day and expanding its Digital Thumbprint Program in southern Queensland. The free in-school program aims to support young people to be safe and responsible and online. Since the program’s launch in 2013, it has educated over 330,000 primary and secondary students across Australia.

“How students spend their time online has certainly evolved over the last year, especially when it comes to a greater focus for schooling and educational purposes. We want to make sure young people are equipped to best navigate the digital world, with our program ensuring students are able to take home some valuable skills when it comes to cybersecurity, verifying credible information and what to keep in mind to create a positive digital footprint,” said Optus Territory general manager for Southern Queensland, Nick Channell.

Also on Safer Internet Day, Snapchat debuted a new called Friend Check Up, which prompts Snapchatters to look at their friend lists and make sure it’s all people they still want to be connected to. If there happens to be Snapchatters in their lists that they no longer want to be in contact with, they can easily and comfortably remove them.

A Snap spokesperson noted that with some digital platforms the connections that can be created - sometimes at the explicit urging of the platform - with people we don’t know in real life can expose people to negative experiences, such as the spread of misinformation, harassment or unwanted situations.

This new feature is part of a more comprehensive campaign Snap kicked off last month with the goal of further integrating online safety and privacy education in Snapchat, in ways that will help resonate with the mobile-first generation.

Gen Z social platform, Yubo, which has 1.1 million active users in Australia, was commended by Australian e-Safety Commissioner, Julie Inman-Grant, for signing a joint statement regarding safety commitments from social media platforms. This followed the European Commission launched a consultation on a proposed regulation on the detection, removal and reporting of child sexual abuse material online.

Yubo CMO, Marc Antoine-Durand, said the recent period has led to a much greater awareness of the need to improve data privacy. “Regulators rapidly tried to tackle this issue, and the European regulation GDPR, implemented in 2016, was a great step towards the respect of people’s data online. At the same time, every big platform implemented data protection tools and measures and educated their teams and users about privacy,” Antoine-Durand told CMO.

“It is also important to be transparent on the processing of user information. As Yubo caters to a young demographic, it is vital we provide these opportunities to advise on what should be shared online and what should not."

Yubo has pop-up alerts when a user is about to share private information, such as their phone number or location, warning them of the risks and giving them a choice to consider whether to share this private information.

“We are developing our application in respect with GDPR principle of ‘privacy by design’ and building our safety features and measures taking into account our users’ privacy,” Antoine-Durand added.

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