HONG KONG (AP) — China’s biggest gaming company, Tencent Holdings, said Tuesday it will limit gaming time for minors and ban children under age 12 from making in-game purchases after a state media article called games “spiritual opium.”
Tencent’s pledge to curb gaming for minors came hours after the company’s stock plunged as much as 11% following a critique published by the Economic Information Daily, a newspaper affiliated with China’s official Xinhua News Agency.
The newspaper article named Tencent’s wildly popular Honor of Kings game as one that minors were addicted to, and cited a student as saying that some played the game for eight hours a day. The online article was removed hours later.
“‘Spiritual opium’ has grown into an industry worth hundreds of billions,” the newspaper said, adding that no industry should be allowed to develop in a manner that will “destroy a generation.”
On Tuesday, Tencent said in a statement it will limit gaming time for minors to one hour a day, and two hours a day during holidays. Children under age 12 will also be prohibited from making purchases within the game, the company said.
Under Chinese law, users under age 18 can play online games for a maximum of one and a half hours a day, and three hours during holidays.
Tencent also called for the industry to control gaming time for minors and discuss the possibility of banning those younger than 12 from playing games.
It was not clear if Tencent issued the curbs in light of the article. The company did not immediately comment.
The critique of the gaming industry sparked a selloff of stocks in Chinese gaming companies including NetEase amid fears that the gaming industry could be the next to experience a clampdown.
Chinese authorities in recent months have targeted e-commerce and online education, implementing new regulations to curb anti-competitive behavior after years of rapid growth in the technology sector.
Last month, authorities banned companies that provide tutoring in core school subjects from turning a profit, wiping out billions in market value from online education companies such as TAL Education and Gaotu Techedu.
“Obviously there’s great concern over policy uncertainty because this is not just about online education, there was also talk about data security and now, about mobile games,” said Kenny Wen, wealth management strategist at Everbright Sun Hung Kai.
“So the future will be highly uncertain, it is difficult to give a fair valuation on these stocks and investors will take a wait-and-see approach and be relatively prudent in this sector as we don’t know what will happen next.”
Tencent’s stock price closed down 6.11% at 446 Hong Kong dollars on Tuesday.
Zen Soo, The Associated Press
Latinos vastly underrepresented in media, new report finds – 95.7 News
PHOENIX (AP) — Latinos are perpetually absent in major newsrooms, Hollywood films and other media industries where their portrayals — or lack thereof — could deeply impact how their fellow Americans view them, according to a government report released Tuesday.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office to investigate last October.
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, has made the inclusion of Latinos in media a principal issue, imploring Hollywood studio directors, journalism leaders and book publishers to include their perspectives.
Castro says the lack of accurate representation, especially in Hollywood, means at the very best that Americans don’t get a full understanding of Latinos and their contributions. At worst — especially when Latinos are solely portrayed as drug dealers or criminals — it invites politicians to exploit negative stereotypes for political gain, Castro said.
That could engender violence against Latinos, like the killing of 23 people in El Paso in 2019 by a gunman who was targeting Hispanics.
“None of this has been an effort to tell people exactly what to write, but to encourage that media institutions reflect the face of America. Because then we believe that the stories will be more accurate and more reflective of the truth and less stereotypical,” Castro said in an interview with The Associated Press. “American media, including print journalism, has relied on stereotypes of Latinos. If the goal is the truth, well that certainly has not served the truth.”
The report found that in 2019, the estimated percentage of Latinos working in newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishers was about 8%. An estimated 11% of news analysts, reporters and journalists were Latino, although the GAO used data that included Spanish-language networks, where virtually all contributors are Latino, and those employed in other sectors of news, not just necessarily news gatherers. That could inflate the figures significantly.
The report also found that the biggest growth among Hispanics in the media industry was in service jobs, while management jobs had the lowest representation.
Ana-Christina Ramón is one half of a team that has been collecting data on diversity in Hollywood for a decade, and began publishing annual reports in 2014. Ramón is the director of research and civic engagement at the UCLA College of Letters and Science.
Latinos account for only about 5% to 6% of main cast members in TV and film, despite being roughly 18% of the U.S. population, her research has found.
“It’s a bit of a ceiling. It doesn’t go over that percentage,” Ramón said, although she added that TV has made much bigger strides in significant roles for Latinos than movies have.
For years, Hollywood executives argued that films with diverse leads don’t make money. Ramón found that they do.
“There’s this idea that Hollywood has that ‘Oh, we can’t do too much diversity, it will scare off the white people.’ Well, it has not scared off the white people,” Ramón said.
Cristina Mislán, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Missouri, Columbia, was not surprised by the figures the GAO found, and noted that much of the growth in Latinos in media professions stems from the service industry.
“It’s important because the more representation we have of diverse cultures and peoples does allow for more opportunities to have richer, more complicated stories being told,” Mislán said.
Astrid Galvan, The Associated Press
Gabby Petito, and the social media craze that helped police find her body – Globalnews.ca
The disappearance and almost-certain death of Gabby Petito and the police hunt for her boyfriend have generated a whirlwind online, with a multitude of armchair detectives and others sharing tips, possible sightings and theories by way of TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.
Whether the frenzy of attention and internet sleuthing has helped the investigation is not clear, but it has illuminated the intersection between social media and the public’s fascination with true-crime stories.
Months before her disappearance drew more than a half-billion views on TikTok, Petito, 22, and 23-year-old boyfriend Brian Laundrie set out from Florida on a cross-country road trip over the summer in a van she decorated boho-chic style.
They documented their adventure on video and invited social media users to follow along on the journey, sharing scenes of a seemingly happy couple cartwheeling on a beach, hiking on mountain trails and camping in the Utah desert.
But they quarrelled along the way, and Laundrie returned home alone in the van in September. Over the weekend, a body believed to be Petito’s was discovered at the edge of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Investigators have not said how she died but have identified the now-missing Laundrie as a person of interest.
Social media users have been fascinated by the case and have been poring over the wealth of online video and photos for clues.
“A lot of it has to do with the cross-country journey they were documenting, going on social media on this grand adventure,” said Joseph Scott Morgan, a Jacksonville State University professor of forensics and an authority on high-profile murder cases. And he added: “They are young, they are attractive people.”
Gabby Petito investigation: FBI search family home of Brian Laundrie for evidence of disappearances
Another source of fascination: a police bodycam video, released last week, showing the couple after they were pulled over in August in Moab, Utah, where the van was seen speeding and hitting a curb. They had gotten into a fight, and Petito was in tears, with Laundrie saying tension had been building between them because they had been traveling together for months.
Theories and observations picked up steam on Reddit, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter.
Users have delved into Petito’s Spotify music playlists, Laundrie’s reading habits and the couple’s digitally bookmarked trails. A TikTok user reported having picked up Laundrie hitchhiking.
And a couple who document their bus travels on YouTube said they went through some of their video footage from near Grand Teton and spotted what they said was the couple’s white van. They posted an image of it with a big red arrow pointing to it and the words, “We found Gabby Petito’s van.” They said that was what led investigators to the area where the body was found.
The FBI has not specified what led to the discovery or said whether other tips from internet sleuths have helped.
Michael Alcazar, a retired New York City detective and professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that Petito’s Instagram account gave investigators places to start and that social media became a rich source of tips.
“Instagram is kind of like the photo on the milk carton, except it reaches so many people quickly,” he said.
On the other hand, some users have spread misinformation, reporting potential sightings of Petito and Laundrie that turned out to be wrong.
Gabby Petito disappearance: Police find body “consistent with” Petito in Wyoming
Hannah Matthews, a TikTok user from Salt Lake City, admitted becoming obsessed with the case, saying she identified with Petito and felt that could have been her. She has made 14 short videos detailing theories of what could have gone wrong and providing updates on the case. One of them suggests Petito did not write one of her Instagram posts. It has gotten nearly 2 million views.
“It just seemed like an odd case from the beginning and after doing more research and (collaborating) with other people on social media, the case just kept growing and having twists and turns,” she said.
As of Tuesday, the hashtag #gabbypetito had received more than 650 million views on TikTok. By way of comparison, #FreeBritney posts about pop star Britney Spears’ bid to end her conservatorship had gotten 1.9 billion views.
“There’s a lot of different complicated reasons that people are drawn to it, and it’s not all sinister or malicious or creepy,” said Kelli Boling, a professor of advertising and public relations at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who has studied audience reception to true-crime podcasts.
She said those fascinated by such cases are sometimes domestic-violence victims who find that such material can help them deal with their own experiences.
“Some people are really drawn to it from a place of healing, or from a place of wanting to find justice for the young lady,” Boling said.
While expressing sympathy for Petito, some have detected what they see as a racial double standard, complaining that the media and online sleuths are heavily invested in this case because she is young and white.
“There are a lot of women of colour, and especially immigrants, this happens to all the time, and we never hear about it,” said Alex Piquero, a criminologist at the University of Miami.
Gabby Petito disappearance: Family pleads for Laundrie to speak as nationwide search continues
In the same state where Petito was found, at least 710 Native Americans were reported missing between 2011 and late 2020.
Also, an LGBT couple who lived in a van were reported missing and later found shot to death at a campsite near Moab, not long after Petito and her boyfriend were stopped by police there. The deaths of Kylen Schulte and Crystal Turner generated some media coverage but nothing like the Petito case.
The case also came at a time when interest in cross-country travel, especially in vans or recreational vehicles, is at a high, perhaps as a reaction to the isolation forced on people by the COVID-19 outbreak. The couple’s plans sounded like something out of a romantic movie gone terrible awry, Piquero said.
“It has this whole air of intrigue,” he said. “People have a real fantasy about being able to solve crimes.”
Whitehurst reported from Salt Lake City. Associated Press writers Barbara Ortutay in San Francisco and Mike Schneider in Orlando, Florida, contributed to this report.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
We’re All Working Longer Hours. Social Media Isn’t Helping – Forbes
I had a long conversation with an editor over LinkedIn the other day.
It was productive and enlightening, full of insights into my workflow and helpful in terms of knowing some of the upcoming topics that make sense for me to cover. I enjoyed sharing a few comments about my upcoming book, and how that labor of love is debuting soon. We even chatted about his kids and their soccer games coming up.
There was only one problem.
It was later at night, long after supper and during a football match I really wanted to watch. I don’t regret having the conversation, but I do regret when it took place.
According to a new study by Microsoft, it turns out I’m not the only one working harder than I ever imagined, especially during this strange remote work period. Because we have easy access to technology, phones, online tools, and laptops it means we tend to use them even more.
The study found that we’re working about 10% more on average. That means, in my case, I’m clocking in after hours and during football games.
The allure of social media is partly to blame. I’m a major fan of LinkedIn. Of all the social media platforms, it seems the least addictive. I like all of the talking head videos as much as anyone else, but this network caters to a more serious crowd. And it caters to a crowd that is hopefully logged out a bit more and not posting birthday parties photos all day.
Still, the chat is always a click away. I have the LinkedIn app installed on my phone, but I have been considering whether that is really the smartest idea in the world.
Allure is an interesting word. As someone who likes to fish, I’ve noticed part of that word includes “lure” (which means to attract). Alluring technically means finding fascination. Are we really finding it though? Obsessive social media use is alluring because we never obtain anything. The “lure” keeps moving suspiciously out of range. We can’t quite ever obtain it, which is the entire point. What is alluring is always elusive. As the lure shifts away from us we keep pursuing it.
To take the analogy further: Companies like Facebook are fishing for you, but they never want to catch you. Catching means providing a final product. The goal is always to attract and hold the prize just inches away at all times.
From a scientific standpoint, social media companies also know things that are alluring play on a portion of the brain called the salience network that helps us determine what is worth focusing on. Of course, we think the LinkedIn chat is important, especially if it’s a boss or coworker.
We attune to what is alluring, and we tune out the things that seem trivial. At night, we are not as equipped to throttle our attention, and social media plays into that dynamic.
That chat tool is easy to find and use, and we’re convinced it can lead to good productivity, but it’s an illusion of work.
Part of the issue is that it might not be real work at all. It might be a waste of time, or at least so time-consuming that there would be a much better way to communicate (say, by making a phone call or emailing someone).
We crave accomplishment, though. We work more because we want to accomplish more. That extra 10% we’re working? It might actually slow us down and make us achieve less in the day, not more. At least, we might miss out on the best type of work.
The secret, as always, is to use these incredible digital tools in a way that is productive and is intentional.
We can win this battle. We just need the salience network to work in our favor. And maybe a more radical approach like deleting a few of the apps.
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