Internal DEFEND News
Aug 9/20 – DEFEND is born! First Committee Meeting is held on Zoom.
Mar 14/21 – DEFEND approves an Awareness Campaign which will take place in the coming weeks! Event summary: We will be producing a Live Stream Event on our Youtube Channel, where various people from DEFEND and outside of DEFEND will be “Saying Thank You” to ALL of the 9000+ people who signed our petition! – Stay tuned for more.
Mar 21/21 – DEFEND Challenges Instagram to Do Better (for Children) – Read Press Release
Mar 22/21 – DEFEND officially launches its peer-to-peer support group (on Facebook) for parents/guardians looking to reduce risks for children/vulnerable people online – Click HERE to join
Mar 27/21 – DEFEND launches new petition to STOP FACEBOOK in developing an Instagram App for Kids UNDER the age of 13.
April 3/21 – DEFEND announces the “10-hour Ink-a-Thon” which will be a Live Stream Event on Youtube saying thank you to everyone who has signed our petition. The event will take place on May 8 starting at 10am EDT and continue as long as it takes to read all of the names from the petition. Some of the people joining the Live Stream will be: Chris Hansen, Taryn Manning and some of the DEFEND team! Watch the promo here.
April 19/21 – DEFEND updates our website to add educational materials for parents/caregivers – Materials about popular social media sites/apps. Learn about those risks HERE!
April 24/21 – DEFEND announces prize lineup for May 8th Ink-a-Thon: $50 Gift Card for Moxies Grill & Bar (Canada), $50 Apple Gift Card (US), $100 Gift Card for Google Play Store (Canada) & $100 USD for one person anywhere in the world who has joined our Parents/Caregivers Support Group on FACEBOOK (Sent by Paypal). See more about the event HERE.
April 30/21 – Journalist Chris Hansen, actor Taryn Manning and more celebrities will join in reading 10,000 signatures on May 8th “Ink-a-Thon” Live Stream – Read Press Release
May 8/21 – DEFEND’s Ink-a-Thon is a success! People from more than 40 countries signed the online petition, there’s magic from Simon Ryan and prizes! During the event DEFEND announces 65square – A new social media site we have been developing for several months! There are many unique features like: age/ID verification for everyone (even the kids!) – Read MORE
May 13/21 – DEFEND launches the crowdfunding page for 65square – Sign up now! For as little as $5 you can help us bring HEALTHY social forward to the world!!
May 25/21 – 65square announces that our Artificial Intelligence Team are approximately 8 weeks away from being complete with our revolutionary face detection login system!! After fully training the system and just by using the camera on your phone, it will have an accuracy of approximately 92% (and will only get better!) guessing an age (among other things) to approximately 1 year of someone’s actual age! Very exciting stuff! What’s Facebook doing about age verification online? Building an app for kids under the age of 13 with NO verification methods except for asking a child their birthday. Stay tuned for updates!!
May 27/21 – DEFEND submits a Brief to Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics regarding the issues about Pornhub (and similar sites) in Canada. We recommend among other things, age/ID verification on all social media. Read the Brief HERE.
July 15/21 – DEFEND announces it will be hosting a fundraising event called the Magical Movement Tour in October 2021. A preliminary website has been setup www.non4Krun.com – More details coming soon!
Aug 24/21 – DEFEND researcher Chloe Chai completes a study on (15) social media sites and its potential impacts on children. View the paper HERE.
Sept 15/21 – DEFEND announces a new tour which will be geared at having the public sign a hard copy version of our petition (for age/identity verification on all social media). The first event will be a rally and petition signing session at Robson Square in Vancouver, BC Canada (during daylight hours – 8am-7pm) on October 5, 2021. The event will be socially distanced and we will have volunteers with hand sanitizer for those signing the petition.
Sept 29/21 – DEFEND volunteers will be in Vancouver, BC (Robson Square) for one day rallying and getting signatures on paper which will be served onto the Canadian government. Read the press release HERE.
Oct 7/21 – DEFEND volunteers in Windsor, Ontario will be conducting a small, safe rally to protect children online on Saturday October 9, 2021 (Riverside and Ouellette in Windsor). Volunteers will also be collecting signatures for the petition circulating across Canada for age/identity verification on all social media. Read the press release HERE.
Oct 13/21 – DEFEND volunteers are making their way to rally and collect signatures in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta on October 16 (in Edmonton at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market) and Sunday October 17 in Calgary (Olympic Plaza and The Core Downtown). See more HERE.
Oct 18/21 – DEFEND announces the Magical Movement Tour registration is now open! The event takes place on Sunday October 24/21 on Zoom and participants are encourage to obtain $100 in donations to join. Read the press release HERE.
Oct 19/21 – DEFEND releases artwork for its first podcast: Dark Side of the Web. The series will showcase real risks for children and vulnerable people online wrapped into scripted stories. The fictional series will have visuals (some animation) and will be released weekly starting October 31. See more HERE.
Oct 24/21 – DEFEND raises more than $900 from its Magical Movement Tour which can be watched on Youtube now HERE.
Oct 25/21 – DEFEND releases a clip from the first episode of Dark Side of the Web, a new podcast which will also be animated! The fictional and scripted first season of the series will dive into a new risk online (for a child or vulnerable person) in each of the 13 episodes. Watch the preview clip HERE.
Oct 27/21 – DEFEND announces The DEFEND Art Gallery, a chance for artists of all kinds to win $500 cash for creating art in line with DEFEND’s mission. Click HERE for details.
Oct 29/21 – DEFEND’s official podcast Dark Side of the Web is now available online! Click HERE to learn more.
Nov 8/21 – DEFEND announces Orange is the New Black star Taryn Manning will star in episode 3 of the new podcast Dark Side of the Web. The episode will be released by Sunday November 14, 2021. See more about the podcast HERE.
Dec 5/21 – DEFEND announces details on its next fundraiser – DEFEND’s Brain Olympiad – Coming January 22/22 – An exciting live streamed trivia and challenge competition for exciting prizes! Click HERE to learn more.
Dec 5/21 – DEFEND was featured in a spotlight piece by Vancouver newspaper The Source regarding the United Nations’ International Volunteer Day – Read more HERE.
Jan 5/22 – DEFEND announces an additional prize of a DJI Mavic Air which will be given to the DEFEND Art Gallery winner in January 2023. Total prizes to date will be a $500 cash prize + the DJI drone for one winner. One art submission will be chosen each month in 2022 and only one of the 12 chosen people will win the prizes. Each art submission must conform to the monthly theme. January’s theme: Online child grooming. Register HERE.
Jan 23/22 – DEFEND has officially mailed our petition (for age/identity verification on all social media) to Member of Parliament Arnold Viersen. Mr. Viersen has agreed to table the petition before the House of Commons so that federal government will respond to it. Stay tuned for more details.
Jan 29/22 – DEFEND has launched its next petition which calls for social media literacy (where kids would learn about the risks of social media) in the elementary school system, everywhere!! Sign the digital version HERE – Want to help with the hard copy version in your province in Canada? Please email us now! (We need sponsors in every province)
Feb 18/22 – DEFEND releases our first survey’s results, which was a look at misconceptions of online abuse. The study was conducted by DEFEND researcher Michael Fair. We thank everyone who participated in the research. Read the report HERE.
Feb 25/22 – DEFEND begins its Star of the Quarter program, a volunteer-recognition program for those working with DEFEND who act with honour, integrity and in the spirit of DEFEND’s mission – read more HERE.
Aug 15/22 – DEFEND announces that it will be hosting an in-person All-You-Can-Eat Pasta Fundraiser event in Windsor, Ontario on September 2, 2022 – Read more or Order Tickets HERE.
Aug 28/22 – DEFEND has received an official response to our first petition from the Canadian government regarding age/identity verification on all social media. The government is putting together an “expert group” to investigate further and we will be pushing the issues forward even harder. See the official government response from MP Chris Bittle HERE
Oct 3/22 – DEFEND Announces its Scare the Sh*t Out of CSAM campaign which will lead to a one-hour live stream on Youtube showcasing best costumes with hundreds of dollars on the line! Read more HERE
External Related News
Nov 23/20 – Canadian Senator Julie Miville-Dechene, Introduces Bill S-203 aimed at porn companies, making it illegal for age verification to not be in place: https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/senator-violent-porn-mandatory-age-pornhub-1.5810603
Dec 14/20 – PornHub removes all “unverified” accounts and content on their platform:
Aug 5/21 – After months of lobbying them, Apple has announced new features on upcoming iPhones /iOS 15 that will notify a parent if a child sends or receives a nude image. There’s more feature included in the announcement – Please see our Live Stream discussion about this above or more from Apple HERE.
Aug 16/21 – Gay dating app Grindr has been sued in New York State for failing to properly protect against minors using their service. Although the lawsuit hasn’t been tested in Court, it stems from the arrest of a gynecologist ( Dr. Aaron Weinreb ) in 2019 who was accused of meeting and having sex with a 14-year old child he met on Grindr. See more HERE.
Aug 16/21 – Coincidentally, after years of lobbying them, abuse by hundreds of creep catching groups on Youtube, our letter-writing campaign targeted at them AND on the day that a lawsuit was filed against Grindr (a gay dating app) in NY State for failing to have adequate child protections, Tinder announced they will be opening their ID verification program up to the whole world. While it may be voluntary now, their press release suggests it could become mandatory. They are going to be asking users (that want to verify) to send pictures of photo ID. Big question: Will it be your ID? See more in their press release HERE.
Aug 19/21 – After $2B in sales on its platform in 2020, OnlyFans announces that it will be banning “sexually explicit content” from their platform beginning in October 2021. The pressure of the decision seems to be from external sources (ie. Credit card companies looking to threaten terminate service if sexual exploitation concerns aren’t alleviated OR criminal investigations into trafficking). Read more HERE.
Aug 25/21 – After intense scrutiny from their announcement a few days earlier, OnlyFans has reversed its decision to ban “sexually explicit content”. Read more HERE.
Sept 3/21 – After receiving critical comments from customers, news outlets, advocacy groups and researchers who have misinterpreted the core features of their “Child Protection” features, Apple announced it will be walking back their earlier announcement and will not be including these features in the upcoming iOS15 release. Many news organizations like Fox and non-reputable sources, have clearly either intentionally mislabelled or misinterpreted the core features of Apple’s announcement. Below is an example of such:
Sept 2021 – A new randomized, controlled study from Australia suggests that teaching kids chess, can reduce risk aversion. See more in our Parents Need to Know section HERE.
Sept 27/21 – After significant and overwhelming opposition from DEFEND and other child safety groups, Facebook announces they are “pausing” Instagram for Kids. To clarify in a blog post, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said it was their intent to develop this app for kids ages 10-12 and for their to be parental permission, parental oversight and other features that were unannounced. Read more HERE.
Oct 26/21 – After several US Senate hearings of damning whistle blower revelations against Facebook and their choice of profits over kids’ safety, the Australian government has drafted legislation to have meaningful age verification imposed on ALL social media companies!!! See more about this extraordinary news HERE.
Nov 15/21 – New research from Ireland has emerged showing that 12% of kids aged 9-17 have met in person, a stranger whom they first met online. Other remarkable facts like this have emerged from this face-to-face survey of over 700 kids and their parents. Read the 148 page report HERE.
Nov 30/21 – Florida State Senator Danny Burgess introduced a bill that would require Florida schools to teach kids the risks and benefits of social media. Read more HERE.
Dec 8/21 – Instagram Head Adam Mosseri testified before Senators in the US regarding risks for children on Instagram. Mosseri admitted essentially that it would be an “existential threat” if Instagram and it’s owner Meta (formerly Facebook) lost teen users. See one of the damning clips from the testimony HERE.
Dec 13/21 – Pop star/singer Billie Eilish describes on the Howard Stern Show how she began watching porn at age 11 and how it “destroyed (her) brain” – See more HERE.
Jan 21/22 – A mother from Connecticut, USA has launched a lawsuit against Snapchap and Meta (Facebook) for the death of her 11-year old child who took her own life as a result of alleged addiction to their platforms, bullying and their failures to protect kids on their platforms. Read more HERE.
Feb 9/22 – Romance fraud on dating apps are up to an alarming 8,000+ in the UK in one year (2020-2021). Scams on dating apps amounted to nearly $100mil US just in the UK alone. It’s estimated 2/3 of victims are women. Read more HERE.
Feb 16/22 – Senators Blumenthal (Democrat) and Blackburn (Republican) in the US introduced a new bill called the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA). If enacted it would give some additional features to parents and some additional transparency into tech companies. Read more HERE
Mar 7/22 – A new study from the UK points to additional risks for physical health, in particular with children’s eyes, with extended screen time. Read more HERE.
Mar 15/22 -Top 10 online scams according to the Better Business Bureau by age bracket Read more HERE: https://www.tricitynews.com/local-news/have-you-been-fooled-by-a-scam-bbb-has-the-top-10-according-to-age-5150989
Mar 18/22 – NCMEC Releases CyberTipline numbers of child sex abuse reports on ESPs (electronic service providers – Tech companies, social media platforms, etc) for 2021. Overall there was a 35% INCREASE of total reports involving children (exploitation, luring, children’s images/videos etc) from 2020. In total Facebook platforms (Instagram, Facebook & WhatsApp) carried 92.21% of the total child sex abuse reports online (from reporting ESPs). See the ESP report HERE.
Mar 30/22 – Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator releases a new report about the usage and affect of social media on different ages of children. Read it HERE.
Mar 30/22 – Washington Post investigation reveals Meta (Facebook, Instagram and WhatApp) paid a conservative consultancy firm called Targeted Victory to smear its competitor TikTok after significant declines on Meta platforms and gains in user numbers on TikTok. Read the story here: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/facebook-meta-tiktok-targeted-victory_n_62446838e4b0742dfa59f045
Sept 14/22 – California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law, the California Age Appropriate Design Code Act requiring tech platforms consider the “best interest of the child” users likely to access their platforms and to take reasonable steps to determine a user’s age. The landmark Bill was plagued with critical reception and it comes into law on July 1, 2024. Read more HERE.