29 November 2022, 14:08

By Phoebe Dampare Osei

James O'Brien provides an analogy for the traps of social media algorithms, after an inquest into Molly Russell’s death revealed that harmful online content was a contributing factor.

James O’Brien analogised the dangers of the design of social media, comparing the platforms to a “fishing expedition” where “various hooks” are thrown out to users and are fine-tuned to feed them with the content they consume.

James brought up the tragic case of Molly Russell in his monologue, a 14-year-old girl who sadly ended her life after viewing harmful online content.

“It just gets me, that story. I’ve got girls of a similar age, and reading about what the poor little thing was exposed to, the constant…”, James said before tailing off, clearly moved.

“It’s all to do with finding things and then the algorithms finding you”, he continued.

READ MORE: Coroner rules schoolgirl Molly Russell killed herself after viewing harmful posts

James then shared how one of his friends who works in marketing was trying to understand how TikTok works, so he created a new account and signed up with “very very little personal detail”

His feed started out with “scantily clad women” and when he “didn’t show any interest in that” he was fed with sport and video games.

James said another of his friends, also in marketing, thought he was “clever” but ended up falling down the “rabbit hole” of saying “I’ll just watch another one and another one and another one…”

James said his friend would say social media has got him “hooked” and “the next thing I know - an hour has gone".

He told listeners: “I am wary of politicians promising to crack down on anything actually, whether it’s immigration, drug use, or online harm but I am equally aware someone’s got to do something about this.”

READ MORE: Protect children or pay the price, Culture Sec warns social media giants

It comes as social media giants will be required to show they are preventing children from accessing harmful content online in an expansion of the Online Safety Bill.

“I don't know whether this would include the so-called free speech that Elon Musk seems to be so concerned about”, James finished.

QOSHE - Molly Russell: James O’Brien exposes social media's ‘hooks’ as Online Safety Bill expands - Phoebe Dampare Osei
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Molly Russell: James O’Brien exposes social media's ‘hooks’ as Online Safety Bill expands

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29.11.2022

29 November 2022, 14:08

By Phoebe Dampare Osei

James O'Brien provides an analogy for the traps of social media algorithms, after an inquest into Molly Russell’s death revealed that harmful online content was a contributing factor.

James O’Brien analogised the dangers of the design of social media, comparing the platforms to a “fishing expedition” where “various hooks” are thrown out to users and are fine-tuned to feed them with the content they consume.

James brought up the tragic case of Molly Russell in his monologue, a 14-year-old girl who........

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