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Social Media Faces Lawsuits From Schools Over Mental Health Effects

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SEATTLE, Wash. – The big U.S. social media firms, like the cigarette, oil, gun, opioid, and vape businesses before them, are now facing lawsuits launched by public agencies seeking to hold them accountable for a massive societal problem – in this case, the mental health crisis among youngsters.

However, the new cases — one filed by a public school district in Seattle last week, another by a suburban district on Monday, and almost definitely more to follow — face an uncertain legal path.

Next month, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on how federal law protects the computer industry from such claims when social media algorithms push potentially dangerous information.

Even if the Supreme Court grants permission for lawsuits like Seattle’s, the district faces difficulty showing the industry’s liability.

And the tech industry says there are many ways in which the effects of social media on teens’ mental health are different from, say, how big pharma promotes opioid addiction.

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There Are Many Ways Social Media Effects Teens

“The fundamental premise is that the tech business is to blame for teens’ emotional state because they recommended content that has caused emotional injury,” vice president of tech industry trade organization NetChoice, said. “It would be ludicrous to sue Barnes & Noble because a staff member recommended a book that caused emotional harm or upset a youngster.” But that is precisely what this lawsuit does.”

Seattle Public Schools sued the digital titans behind TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat on Friday, arguing they had created a public nuisance by marketing to youngsters. The Kent School District in the Seattle suburbs followed suit on Monday.

The districts blame the companies for mental health and behavioral disorders such as anxiety, depression, disordered eating, and cyberbullying, making it making difficult to educate students; and forcing schools to take steps such as hiring more mental health professionals, developing lesson plans about the effects of social media, and providing additional teacher training.social media

Unprecidented Life Challenges

“Young people everywhere — face unprecedented learning and life challenges that are exacerbated by the negative effects of increased screen time, potentially addictive social media properties,” Seattle Superintendent Brent Jones said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “We hope this action will help reverse this trend for our students.”

The Communications Decency Act of 1996 protects online businesses from being held responsible for what other people post on their platforms. But the complaints say that the rule, which was made before there were any social media platforms, doesn’t protect the tech giants in this case because their algorithms favor harmful information.

This is also the issue in Gonzalez v. Google, YouTube’s parent firm, which the Supreme Court will hear on February 21. In another instance, the family of an American lady slain in an Islamic State group attack in Paris in 2015 claims that YouTube’s algorithms helped the terror group recruit.

If the Supreme Court rules that digital corporations can be held accountable in such cases, school districts will still have to prove that social media was to blame. Seattle’s lawsuit says that between 2009 and 2019, the number of students who said they felt “so unhappy or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row” that they stopped doing some of their usual activities rose by 30%.

However, Szabo noted that Seattle’s graduation rates have been rising since 2019 when many youngsters relied on social media to stay in touch with their pals during the pandemic. He said that the number of people who graduate from high school would be going up if social media were so bad for the district’s educational efforts.

“The complaint focuses solely on how social media damages children, and there may be evidence of that,” said Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University in Silicon Valley. “However, there is a lot of evidence that social media improves teenagers and other children. We don’t know what the distress rate would be like if social media didn’t exist. The distress rate might probably be higher rather than lower.”

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Company’s Care About The Safety Of Its Users

The companies have said that they care about the safety of their users, especially children. They have tools that make it easier for parents to know who their children are talking to. They have also made it easier for people to find mental health resources on social media, like the new 988 crisis hotline. They have also made it easier to check a user’s age and set limits on how much time they can spend on their devices.

“When teens join Instagram, we immediately switch their profiles to private, and we send reminders encouraging them to take regular breaks,” Meta’s global head of safety, said “We do not allow content that promotes suicide, self-harm, or eating disorders, and we identify over 99% of the content we remove or take action on before it is reported to us.”

Frances Haugen, a Facebook whistleblower, released internal studies in 2021 that showed the company knew Instagram was bad for kids because it hurt their body image and made eating disorders and suicidal thoughts worse. She claimed the platform put profits ahead of safety and concealed its research from investors and the general public.

Josh Golin, the executive director of Fairplay, an organization that protects children from commercialization and marketing, says that even if social media helps some students, it doesn’t make up for the huge harm it does to many others.

“The mental health expenses to students are astronomical, as is the amount of time schools have to spend monitoring and responding to social media drama,” Golin added. “It is ludicrous that schools are liable for the devastation created by these social media sites to young people. Nobody is witnessing the kinds of cumulative effects that social media is having on school districts.”

Both claims were filed in the United States District Court, but they are based on state public nuisance law – a wide, ill-defined legal notion with origins dating back to 13th century England. In Washington, a public nuisance is “any illegal act and every failure to do a duty” that “annoys, hurts, or threatens the safety, health, comfort, or rest of a large number of people.”

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Tabacco Industries Under Constant Fire

Most notably, public nuisance allegations aided the tobacco industry in reaching a $246 billion, 25-year settlement with the states in 1998. However, state, city, county, and tribal governments have used public nuisance legislation to hold oil firms accountable for climate change, the gun business for gun violence, the pharmaceutical sector for the opioid crisis, and vaping companies like Juul accountable for teen vaping.

The majority of the litigation is still continuing. Juul Labs agreed to resolve thousands of lawsuits, including 1,400 from school districts, towns, and counties, for an estimated $1.2 billion last month.

The Seattle lawsuit could lead to many changes, raising questions about whether it is right to solve big social problems in court instead of through laws. However, the school system faces little risk because the complaint was brought on a contingency basis, which means the company is only paid if the action is successful.

Jolina Cuaresma, senior counsel for privacy and technology policy at Common Sense Media, which works to make media safer for children, said she was pleased to see a school district file a public nuisance lawsuit against internet corporations.

“People have grown impatient of waiting for Congress to act,” she remarked.

SOURCE – (AP)

 

Geoff Thomas is a seasoned staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. With his sharp writing skills and deep understanding of SEO, he consistently delivers high-quality, engaging content that resonates with readers. Thomas' articles are well-researched, informative, and written in a clear, concise style that keeps audiences hooked. His ability to craft compelling narratives while seamlessly incorporating relevant keywords has made him a valuable asset to the VORNews team.

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Google Spam Update June 2024 Targets AI-Generated Content

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Google Spam Update June 2024 Targets AI-Generated Content

Earlier this month, Google announced the rollout of its June 2024 Google spam update, which will target websites that violate Google’s spam policies in order to improve search results.

The update began on June 20, and the update is expected to be fully rolled out within one week.

As Google’s Search Liaison points out, this update is not part of the algorithmic component of the site reputation abuse update.

This has not yet been rolled out, and Google will announce it in a separate announcement.

Google Spam Updates and Policies

It is Google’s policy to periodically update its systems in order to reduce the number of low-quality and spammy links in its search results.

Google spam updates target websites that violate Google’s rules, such as:

  • Creating content automatically solely for the purpose of improving search engine rankings.
  • Manipulating rankings by purchasing or selling links.
  • Content that is thin, duplicated, or of poor quality.
  • The use of hidden redirects or other deceptive techniques to trick users.

In March, Google released its last Google spam update.

However, some AI-generated content still ranked highly in search results despite the March update impacting many spammy websites.

A study by Search Engine Journal’s Roger Montti indicates that some AI spam sites ranked for over 217,000 queries, with more than 14,900 ranking in the top ten results.

Utilizing tactics such as rapid content churn, AI-generated images, and templated article structures, they exploited a loophole that allowed new content to receive a ranking boost.

Search engine results may be affected

It is likely that Google’s spam detection capabilities will be further refined following the June Google spam update.

In the past, however, it has been demonstrated that closing loopholes can inadvertently affect legitimate websites.

There may be fluctuations in search rankings for some websites due to the June spam update, as with any significant update.

If a website engages in practices that violate Google’s spam policies or relies heavily on AI-generated content, its search visibility may suffer.

In contrast, some websites may benefit from this update, since spammy sites will be less competitive in the search engine results.

Looking Ahead

Approximately one week may be required for Google’s June 2024 spam update to take effect fully.

Google will update its Search Status Dashboard once the rollout is complete, and you will be able to determine whether the update has had any impact on your search engine rankings.

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15 Essential Image SEO Tips You Need To Know

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15 Essential Image SEO Tips You Need To Know

Image SEO: Images play an important part in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) by increasing user engagement, boosting website performance, and overall placement on search engine results pages (SERPs). Understanding how to optimize photos for SEO has a huge impact on your digital presence. This post covers twelve critical methods for efficiently optimizing photos for improved SEO results.

Understanding the role of images in SEO

Images are more than just beautiful features on a website; they can help with SEO efforts. Beyond aesthetics, photos can improve user experience, graphically convey information, and even drive traffic to websites via image searches on search engines such as Google.

Why Does Image SEO Matter?

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Image SEO is important because it assists in Enhancing the user experience by offering relevant visual content.

  • Increasing organic traffic using picture search results.
  • Improving page loading speed, which is an important ranking element.
  • The importance of optimizing images for SEO

Image SEO optimization involves more than just resizing and compressing images. It entails strategic approaches that make photos more visible to search engines, improving the likelihood of appearing in relevant search searches.

Improving User Experience with Optimized Images

When photos are optimized, they load faster, which improves the user experience. Visitors are more likely to stay on a website that loads quickly and contains useful visual material.

The Effect of Images on Page Load Speed

Unoptimized images can impede website load times, resulting in increased bounce rates and worse user satisfaction. Optimizing pictures contributes to maintaining an appropriate page speed, which is critical for both user experience and SEO.

Best practices for image SEO.

To optimize the SEO potential of your website’s photos, consider the following best practices:

1. Selecting the appropriate image format.

Choose the proper image format, such as JPEG, PNG, or WebP, based on the image kind and use case. JPEG is appropriate for pictures, but PNG is best for images with transparency.

2. Optimizing Image File Names

Use descriptive and meaningful file names with keywords linked to the image content. Avoid generic file names such as “IMG001.jpg” because they have no SEO value.

3. Use Descriptive Alt Text

Alt text (alternative text) describes the content of an image and is extremely important in SEO. Incorporate essential keywords naturally into the alt text while correctly describing the image.

4. Image Size and Compression.

Ensure that photos are properly sized for their display dimensions on the website. Use tools to compress photographs while maintaining quality, lowering file size, and optimizing load times.

Technical Considerations

The technical parts of picture SEO include advanced tactics for further optimizing photographs.

4.1 Image Compression Techniques.

Investigate various picture compression techniques, including lossy and lossless compression methods, to determine the optimal balance of image quality and file size.

4.2 Responsive Images for Different Devices.

Implement responsive design principles to provide images that are suitably sized for the user’s device, hence boosting mobile user experience and SEO performance.

4.3 Lazy Loading to Improve Performance

Lazy loading pauses image loading until it is visible in the user’s viewport, decreasing initial page load times and bandwidth usage.

On-page Optimization Tips

On-page optimization strategies focus on how images are incorporated and used on web sites.

5. Positioning Images Strategically

Place photos strategically near pertinent textual information to boost context and engagement. Images should not be placed in headers or footers unless absolutely necessary.

6. Using Image Captions. Effectively

Use informative captions for photographs as necessary. Captions provide additional information and keyword relevancy, which benefits SEO efforts.

7. Image Schema Markup’s SEO Benefits

Use structured data (schema markup) to offer search engines with more information about the image, increasing its visibility in search results.

Mobile-friendliness and Image SEO

Mobile optimization is critical for SEO, which includes image SEO.

7.1 Ensure Images are Mobile-Compatible

Optimize pictures for mobile devices to ensure quick loading and high-quality visuals on small screens.

7.2 Mobile Page Speed and Image Optimization

Prioritize mobile page speed by reducing picture size and using mobile-friendly formats such as WebP.

Optimize picture galleries and sliders for better SEO results.

8. SEO for image sliders and galleries

Ensure that each image in a gallery or slider is optimized individually, with unique alt text and file names.

9. How to Manage Thumbnail Images

Enhance thumbnail photos with meaningful file names and alt text. Thumbnails should clearly depict the larger images to which they link.

Image SEO Tools and Resources.

Discover essential tools and resources for image improvement.

9.1 Tools for Image Compression and Optimization.

For optimal image compression and optimization, consider using tools like Adobe Photoshop, TinyPNG, or plugins like WP Smush.

9.2 Resources to Learn More About Image SEO.

Stay up to date on image SEO trends and best practices by reading blogs, articles, and official material from search engines such as Google.

Assessing Success

Using crucial data, you can track the performance of your image SEO strategy.

10. Key Metrics to Monitor for Image SEO

Monitor indicators such as image search traffic, bounce rates for picture-heavy pages, and rankings for image-related keywords.

11. Utilizing Google Search Console for Image Insights

Use Google Search Console to learn about how photos rank in search results, find areas for improvement, and troubleshoot image indexing issues.

Conclusion

Effective image SEO is essential for improving user experience, increasing website performance, and driving organic traffic. You may improve your image’s visibility and rankings on search engine results pages by following these twelve crucial guidelines.

 

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Tech Trends 2025: AI, Quantum Computing, Renewable Energy & More

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Tech Trends 2025 AI, Quantum Computing, Renewable Energy & More

Technology has always been a driving factor for change in our world, but the rate at which it is evolving today is unparalleled. By 2025, we could see alterations right out of science fiction novels. This post will examine 12 ground-breaking ways technology could change our lives and the globe by 2025.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are revolutionizing healthcare.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are expected to transform the healthcare business. From diagnostics to personalized treatment plans, these technologies promise to improve the efficiency and accuracy of medical care.

AI in diagnostics.

AI systems are increasingly adept at diagnosing diseases using medical imagery and data. For example, AI can analyze X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans faster and more precisely than human radiologists, detecting cancer early when it is most curable.

Personalized Medicine

Personalized medicine tailors therapies to each patient’s genetic makeup. AI and machine learning can analyze massive volumes of genetic data to offer personalized treatment strategies, potentially boosting outcomes while decreasing adverse effects.

Transforming Industries

AI and machine learning are revolutionizing healthcare and transforming other industries by increasing efficiency and productivity.

Automation in Manufacturing

AI-powered automation is improving manufacturing lines, lowering errors, and increasing output. AI-powered robots can do complex jobs and adapt to new processes without human intervention, resulting in more efficient manufacturing.

AI in retail.

Retailers use artificial intelligence (AI) to forecast consumer behavior, manage inventory, and personalize shopping experiences. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants also help customer service by responding instantly to requests and difficulties.

Quantum Computing

Quantum computing represents a tremendous leap forward in computing power and capabilities, with the potential to solve problems that traditional computers cannot now answer.

Advances in Data Processing

Quantum computers can process massive volumes of data at unprecedented rates. This skill can potentially revolutionize sectors like materials science, encryption, and complex system simulations, resulting in discoveries ranging from medicine discovery to climate modeling.

Impact on Cryptography

Quantum computing poses a severe danger to conventional cryptography approaches essential for digital security. However, it also has the potential to build new, more secure cryptographic algorithms for protecting information in the quantum age.

Biotechnology & Genomics

Advances in biotechnology and genomics are paving the way for new frontiers in medicine and agriculture, with the promise of improved health and food security.

Gene Editing Techniques

Gene editing technologies such as CRISPR allow for precise DNA tweaks, potentially treating hereditary illnesses and enhancing crop resiliency.

CRISPR technology

CRISPR technology enables the targeted modification of genes, which can rectify genetic errors, treat diseases, and improve favorable features in plants and animals.

Advancements in Personalised Medicine

Biotechnology also advances personalized medicine by allowing treatments matched to individual genetic profiles, resulting in more effective and less invasive medicines.

Renewable Energy Technologies

Renewable energy technologies are fast evolving, providing long-term solutions to the world’s energy issues.

Solar Power Innovations

Solar energy technologies are becoming increasingly efficient and inexpensive. Because of advances in photovoltaic cells and energy storage technologies, solar energy is becoming a realistic option for powering homes and businesses.

Wind energy advancements

Wind energy is also making tremendous advances. Improved turbine designs and offshore wind farms are increasing wind power’s efficiency and capacity, helping to create a cleaner energy future.

Space Exploration and colonization

The last frontier is becoming more accessible as technology advances in space exploration and colonization.

Private Space Travel

Companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin are progressing in commercial space flight, which might make space tourism a reality by 2025. This might create new economic opportunities and motivate the next generation of explorers.

Mars colonisation efforts

Mars colonization efforts are gaining momentum, with plans for manned trips and eventual communities. These endeavors may pave the way for humanity’s multi-planetary future by tackling overpopulation and resource depletion on Earth.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) connects gadgets and systems, making our lives more efficient and connected.

Smart Homes

The Internet of Things converts houses into smart environments where devices communicate and automate operations. IoT improves convenience, safety, and energy efficiency in our daily lives, from smart thermostats to security systems.

IoT for Urban Planning

In urban planning, IoT is used to develop smart cities that optimize resources, decrease waste, and improve citizens’ quality of life. IoT sensors can monitor traffic, air quality, and energy usage, allowing for more responsive and sustainable city administration.

Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are transforming finance and other industries by providing decentralized, transparent systems.

Decentralized financing (DeFi)

Decentralized Finance, often known as DeFi, uses blockchain technology to establish open, permissionless, and transparent financial networks. By 2025, DeFi might dramatically disrupt traditional banking by providing more accessible and inclusive financial services.

Blockchain and Supply Chain Management

Blockchain improves supply chain management by creating a transparent and immutable record of transactions. This enhances traceability, reduces fraud, and ensures product authenticity.

5G technology

5G technology is expected to revolutionize networking by providing faster speeds, lower latency, and more reliable connections.

Enhanced Connectivity

5G will improve connection for various uses, including streaming high-definition video and supporting sophisticated IoT networks. This enhanced bandwidth will accelerate innovation in various industries, including healthcare, education, and entertainment.

Impact of Remote Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has hastened the shift to remote work, and 5G will amplify this trend by providing the infrastructure for seamless online collaboration, eliminating the requirement for physical office space.

Virtual and augmented reality.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are reshaping how we engage with the digital environment, resulting in immersive experiences across multiple industries.

VR in Education.

VR is revolutionizing education by providing immersive learning experiences. Students can research historical events, do virtual lab experiments, and even go on virtual field trips, making learning more engaging and productive.

Augmented Reality in Retail

AR improves the shopping experience in retail by allowing customers to see things in their environment before purchasing. This technique can reduce returns while increasing consumer happiness.

Autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles are poised to revolutionize transportation, making it safer, more efficient, and more accessible.

Self-Driving Cars

Self-driving cars are becoming increasingly advanced, with many companies testing and fine-tuning their autonomous driving systems. By 2025, they could be widely adopted, reducing accidents and enhancing traffic flow.

Autonomous Public Transportation

Autonomous technology is also being used in public transportation systems, which could lead to more efficient and dependable transportation options. Autonomous buses and trains could increase urban transportation while reducing congestion.

Advanced Robotics

Advanced robotics is becoming increasingly significant in various industries, including manufacturing and healthcare, as it improves efficiency and capacities.

Robots in healthcare.

Robots are transforming healthcare by assisting in surgeries, caring for patients, and doing activities that require precision and dependability. Surgical robots, for example, can conduct complex procedures more accurately and with less invasiveness, resulting in faster patient recoveries.

Robots for Disaster Response

In disaster response, robots can penetrate dangerous environments, survey damage, and aid in search and rescue operations. These robots are outfitted with sensors and artificial intelligence to navigate through debris, find survivors, and offer important data to human responders, increasing the likelihood of life-saving outcomes.

Conclusion

The rapid growth of technology is expected to result in profound changes by 2025. From healthcare and industry to space exploration and everyday life, the inventions we see today will affect the future in ways we can’t even comprehend. Embracing these technologies will be critical to addressing some of the world’s most serious issues and building a more sustainable, efficient, and connected environment.

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