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Unfiltered: Teens get real about the fake lives lived on social media – CBC.ca

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Smooth faces. Bright smiles. Couples gazing into each other’s eyes. Kylie Jenner. Candid, but obviously not candid photos featuring tilted heads and open-mouth laughs.

Those are some of the images that float by Brooke Hawco’s and Madison O’Dell’s eyes during their high school lunch break scroll. With each flick of the finger, a fresh Insta-worthy and sometimes envy-provoking photo. 

“Like, that’s not a real person. That’s not how you actually look as a human,” said Madison.

The photos are often edited and altered, made easy with an app like FaceTune. With a couple of swipes and clicks, the app can do things like shrink your waist, blur your blemishes and whiten your teeth.

“Everything is so edited and filtered.… It’s not even real. Women are giving themselves more curves, bigger boobs, a bigger ass,” said Brooke. 

#Instagramvsreality 

It can be hard to decipher what’s real and what’s fake on social media — not only on the profiles of influencers (that is, people who have turned posing and posting into a job) and celebrities — but as Madison explains, on your own profile too. 

When initially talking about her own photo-editing habits, Madison didn’t think it went beyond teeth-whitening. But on a second scroll, she came across a photo that didn’t look like the original. 

“I remember taking that and being like, ‘My stomach is too big’ and I remember sizing it down and that is the one I posted to social media.”

An effect of the Insta-impact: Madison seemed to have tricked herself into believing the edited photo was reality.  

“I don’t even remember doing that and I’ll look back and be like, ‘Oh that’s a nice picture’ and I won’t even notice that I’m edited. Like, that is not how I look.”

Hawco and O’Dell scroll through social media on their phones. (Caroline Hillier/CBC)

The truth is that people lie on social media, and Brooke says it goes beyond photo-editing photos to photo-editing lives. 

“They all look so happy, having fun but you know these people personally and you know, like, they might not get along that well or that’s not as fun as it actually looks.”

From idolizing unrealistic beauty standards, to the fear of missing out to the focus on followers, the pressures are real and constant. But Madison and Brooke say those pressures are even worse for the younger generation. 

“We actually had a childhood compared to kids these days,” said Madison, 17.

“Kids like 12 or 13, they’re just competently skipping their preteen phase because they’re exposed to the internet.… They’re going straight into teenage years,” said Brooke, 16.

‘Makes you feel completely worthless’

While Brooke admits she went through a “phase” of photo editing, she has made a conscious decision to not use such apps because she sees the damage it causes. 

“It’s absolutely terrible. Comparing yourself to others makes you feel completely worthless,” said Brooke. 

For many teenagers, these social media feeds are often the first thing they reach for in the morning, what they turn to out of habit or boredom throughout the day and the last thing they see before falling asleep. 

That has a damaging effect on mental health, and according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, based on leaked research from a whistleblower, Facebook knows it

Brooke and Madison are not surprised by the findings. 

“I know so many people that deal with anxiety and depression and the toll it takes on their mental health, it’s just completely deteriorating,” said Brooke.

Mental health consequences

Janine Hubbard, a clinical psychologist specializing in children and adolescents, says while there are some positive aspects of social media use, it can also come with some significant mental health consequences.

“It can increase things like anxiety, depression, lower self esteem, increased feelings of loneliness, and have an impact on disordered eating and body image,” said Hubbard, who is president of the Association of Psychology Newfoundland and Labrador. 

Psychologist Janine Hubbard says parents should be familiar with the apps, and monitor both privacy settings and what their children are watching. (Meghan McCabe/CBC)

Many young people understand those consequences, and know they should stop the scrolling and editing. Yet they find it hard to. 

The reason for that? 

“It actually has an addictive property to it,” said Hubbard. 

Every time your picture gets a like or a comment, she said, your brain produces a hit of dopamine, which is the feel-good neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy.

“When you’re getting little intermittent ticks with that [dopamine], that almost becomes more addictive than if you’re getting a steady stream.”

When a post isn’t producing many likes and comments — or hits of dopamine — posters overthink the reason and extrapolate meaning from the lack of likes, leading them to question things like their interpersonal relationships. 

Tips for parents

While parents may be tempted to ban apps for their kids until a certain age, Hubbard suggests introducing some apps to kids when kids are young. With heavy supervision at first, then over-the-shoulder supervision, gradually easing up to them having increased independence when they’re older. 

Parents should be familiar with the apps themselves, keep an eye on privacy and security settings, and monitor what children are watching. 

Research shows that social media use interferes with sleep, so Hubbard recommends no phone use leading up to bedtime. 

Olivia, Victoria and Roxi Lahey (back). Their mother Crystal Lahey says she takes digital safety and privacy seriously, but isn’t worried yet about the impact social media has on the mental health of her daughters Olivia and Victoria, front, and Roxi, back. (Caroline Hillier/CBC)

“Make sure all electronic devices go to a central docking station so they’re not in the room at night,” she said in an interview. 

A key concern around children and teenagers using social media, Hubbard says, is that many popular videos or images tend to either involve extreme and dangerous activities, particularly for boys, or encourage sexualized content, particularly for young girls. 

Teach your children responsible use by keeping an open dialogue, and asking about how they feel about the photos and video they’re seeing, and when Photoshopping, make sure it’s only for fun and not because they feel pressured to alter their image. 

TikTok trio 

Social media’s youngest users have been born into social media, and will never know a world without it. 

Crystal Lahey, who has a 19-year-old son, a six-year-old daughter and two seven-year-old daughters, says social media has made parenting different — perhaps in part though, because her daughters are “little divas.”

“I actually have to tell them to tone it down sometimes because they’re talking like some of the YouTube video stars,” Lahey said. 

“They are influenced in every way.” 

The trio create their own TikTok videos but have their accounts set to private. (Caroline Hillier/CBC)

The girls started showing an interest in taking each other’s photos and videos when they were three, and now regularly record, edit and post dancing and singing videos on TikTok. 

If you don’t know how TikTok works, here’s an explanation from the experts:

“It’s like videos.… There’s a lot and they’re really cool and you can use music and you can make your own TikToks,” said seven-year-old Victoria Lahey. 

“You can use filters to make your TikTok look cool and creative… and then you can get a lot of likes,” added twin sister Olivia.

While these singing and dancing twins would probably rack up a following, their TikTok videos are set to private — much to their disappointment. 

“When we get older, people can watch our videos,” said Olivia. 

Tik Tok a ‘creative outlet’

Lahey monitors what the girls are watching, and keeps an eye on their privacy and security settings, but overall, encourages the app and says it teaches the girls dance choreography and even video-editing skills. 

“It’s a tool for them to express themselves. I know they’re little entertainers.”

Lahey takes safety seriously but isn’t too worried about the impact social media has on the girls’ mental health — not yet, anyway. 

“I find myself thinking more about their safety and security on the internet,” she said.

“As for worrying about their mental well being, I’m not too worried about it right now.… [But] I will be.”

She compares her kids’ social media scrolling to the way she flipped through magazines when she was young. Only now, she says, people know how easy it is to Photoshop an image, and can easily tell what’s real and not real.

“It may make them feel more comfortable knowing that half of the people they’re looking at that are supposed to be so beautiful are filtered.”

The series Unfiltered takes a real look at the fake lives people lead on social media, and how it affects the mental health of young users. You can listen to more from the series here:

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Trump's social media venture says it has raised $1B – Vancouver Sun

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He is working to launch a social media app called TRUTH Social that is at least several weeks away.

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Donald Trump’s new social media venture said on Saturday it had entered into agreements to raise about $1 billion from a group of unidentified investors as it prepares to float in the U.S. stock market.

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The capital raise, details of which were first reported by Reuters on Wednesday, underscored the former U.S. president’s ability to attract strong financial backing thanks to his personal and political brand. He is working to launch a social media app called TRUTH Social that is at least several weeks away.

Digital World Acquisition Corp, the blank-check acquisition firm that will take Trump Media & Technology Group Corp public by listing it in New York, said it will provide up to $293 million to the partnership with Trump’s media venture, taking the total proceeds to about $1.25 billion.

The $1 billion will be raised through a private investment in public equity (PIPE) transaction from “a diverse group of institutional investors,” Trump Media and Digital World said in a statement. They did not respond to requests to name the investors.

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Trump Media inked its deal with Digital World to go public in October at a valuation of $875 million, including debt. The social media venture is now valued at almost $4 billion based on the price of Digital World shares at the end of trading on Friday. Trump supporters and day traders snapped up the stock.

Many Wall Street firms such as mutual funds and private equity firms snubbed the opportunity to invest in the PIPE. Among those investors who participated were hedge funds, family offices and high net-worth individuals, Reuters reported on Wednesday. Family offices manage the wealth of the very rich and their kin.

Some Wall Street investors are reluctant to associate with Trump. He was banned from top social media platforms after the Jan. 6 attack by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol amid concerns he would inspire further violence. The Capitol attack was based on unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud in last year’s presidential election.

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“As our balance sheet expands, Trump Media & Technology Group will be in a stronger position to fight back against the tyranny of Big Tech,” Trump said in a statement on Saturday.

The deal also faces regulatory risk. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren asked Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler last month to investigate the planned merger for potential violations of securities laws around disclosure. The SEC has declined to comment on whether it plans any action.

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Trump Media and Digital World said the per-share conversion price of the convertible preferred stock PIPE transaction represents a 20% discount to Digital World’s volume-weighted average closing price for the five trading days to Dec. 1, when Reuters broke news of the capital raise.

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If that price averages below $56 in the 10 days after the merger with Digital World has been completed, the discount will grow to 40% with a floor of $10, the companies added. Digital World shares ended trading on Friday $44.97.

Trump had 89 million followers on Twitter, 33 million on Facebook and 24.5 million on Instagram at the time he was blocked, according to a presentation on his company’s website.

Investors attending the confidential investor road shows were shown a demo from the planned social media app, which looked like a Twitter feed, Reuters reported.

FIRST-QUARTER ROLLOUT

Since Trump was voted out of office last year, he has repeatedly dropped hints that he might seek the presidency in 2024.

Special purpose acquisition companies such as Digital World had lost much of their luster with retail investors before the Trump media deal came along. Many of these investors were left with big losses after the companies that merged with SPACs failed to deliver on their ambitious financial projections.

TRUTH Social is scheduled for a full rollout in the first quarter of 2022. It is the first of three stages in the Trump Media plan, followed by a subscription video-on-demand service called TMTG+ that will feature entertainment, news and podcasts, according to the news release.

In a slide deck on its website, the company envisions eventually competing against Amazon.com’s AWS cloud service and Google Cloud.

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Trump social media company claims to raise $1bn from investors – The Guardian

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Trump social media company claims to raise $1bn from investors  The Guardian



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Trump's new social media company says it has $1 billion in funding lined up – National | Globalnews.ca – Global News

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Donald Trump‘s new social media company and its special purpose acquisition company partner say the partner has agreements for $1 billion in capital from institutional investors.

The former president launched his new company, Trump Media & Technology Group, in October. He unveiled plans for a new messaging app called “Truth Social” to rival Twitter and the other social media platforms that banned him following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

TMTG’s plan is to become a publicly listed company through a merger with the publicly traded Digital World Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company whose sole purpose is to acquire a private company and take it public.

Read more:

Trump tested positive for COVID-19 days before Biden debate, ex aide says

The institutional investors were not identified in a press release issued Saturday by Trump Media and Digital World. The money would come from “a diverse group” of investors after the two companies are combined, it said.

Digital World said in the release that the $1 billion is above the $293 million (minus expenses) that it may invest.

“I am confident that TMTG can effectively deploy this capital to accelerate and strengthen the execution of its business, including by continuing to attract top talent, hire top technology providers, and roll out significant advertising and business development campaigns,” Digital World CEO Patrick Orlando said in the release.

Trump is listed as chair of TMTG. He will get tens of millions in special bonus shares if the combined company performs well, handing the former president possibly billions of dollars in paper wealth.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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