Social media sites not supportive over trolling, says Love Island star

Amy Hart recounted to MPs the abuse she regularly receives online.

Hart was giving evidence to MPs at Westminster's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee. scyther5 via IStock
Hart was giving evidence to MPs at Westminster's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Former Love Island contestant Amy Hart said she has stopped reporting abusive comments to social media companies because she does not believe anything will be done.

The 29-year-old, a former air stewardess with British Airways, told an inquiry into influencer culture she did not believe sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were supportive enough when it came to trolling.

Appearing in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Hart recounted the abuse she regularly receives online and said she was surprised many of the abusive private messages sent to her did not breach the sites’ community guidelines.

She said: “I am desensitised but I would say that the (social media) networks are not supportive enough when it comes to trolling.

ADVERT

“I have reported some messages before and they come back saying, ‘We have looked at it and it doesn’t break community guidelines’ and I am like, ‘Look at that message!’

“Look at this barrage of messages someone has sent me before 7 o’clock in the morning telling me how much they hate me, how awful I am, why everyone hates me, how ugly I am.

“From a fake account as well, a trolling account, a burner account, and you are telling me that doesn’t break policy?”

Hart said she was getting trolled by people who said they are nurses and “people that have got husbands and children” and one death threat had been traced back to a 13-year-old.

ADVERT

She added: “I delete things, but you see those messages and actually I have probably stopped reporting them now because I know there is no point.

“Because the time it takes me the process of doing: ‘Why are you reporting this message?’ and then it comes back a few hours later with a notification that says, ‘We have checked it and it doesn’t break community guidelines’.”

Hart also dismissed the idea being an influencer was not a legitimate profession, telling the inquiry: “I used to think it wasn’t a proper job either and it really, really is.”

She said she would be willing to pay to use the social media networks “in exchange for a fairer algorithm”, suggesting posts tagged as advertisements were seen by less followers.

Hart also called for a standardised pricing structure based on how many followers an influencer has and their engagement that would dictate their work with brands

She appeared alongside Nicole Ocran, a blogger and co-founder of The Creator Union, which advocates for digital creators.

Ocran told the inquiry her union had reached out to social media networks including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram but had only received a response from image sharing site Pinterest.

ADVERT

Speaking about trolling, she said: “From our perspective the platforms do not move fast enough – the don’t move at all.”

On Twitter, users may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so, and the site can limit the ability to post or suspend an account temporarily or permanently.

Instagram and Facebook both set out rules on “violating messages” which can be enforced through messaging restrictions and disabling accounts.

Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have been contacted for comment.


Scotland continues to have highest level of Covid cases in the UK

Cases are unchanged in Scotland, but have dropped in England and Northern Ireland.

sajoiner via IStock
Data from the ONS estimates that around one in 45 people had Covid-19 in the week to September 11.

Scotland continues to have the highest level of coronavirus cases in the UK, figures suggest.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that around one in 45 people had Covid-19 in the week to September 11, the second week in a row it has been at the highest level since estimates began for Scotland in last October.

This is the equivalent of around 120,800 people, the ONS said.

While the percentage of people testing positive had increased slightly (from 2.23% to 2.29%) in the week ending September 11, the rate of increase had slowed, the ONS said.

ADVERT

All figures are for people living in private households and exclude hospitals and care homes.

The data also showed that around one in 80 people in England had Covid-19 in the week to September 11, down from one in 70 the previous week.

One in 80 in England is the equivalent of about 697,100 people.

At the peak of the second wave in early January, around one in 50 people in England were estimated to have coronavirus.

ADVERT

Meanwhile, in Wales, around one in 60 people are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the week to September 11, up from one in 65 in the previous week.

In Northern Ireland, the latest estimate is one in 75, down from one in 60 in the previous week.

More on:

Ambulance crisis caused by more than pandemic, senior surgeon warns

Professor Michael Griffin said less than half of the Scottish health service’s problems are due to Covid.

Scottish Ambulance Service via SAS
Ambulance: Crisis 'caused by more than pandemic'.

A majority of the issues in Scotland’s hospitals and the knock-on effect to the ambulance service are not due to Covid, a top surgeon has said.

Professor Michael Griffin, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, warned Scotland has “a real workforce problem in the NHS and in social care” that needs to be addressed and it is causing a “vicious circle” impacting all parts of the health service.

He told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme that increasing numbers of Covid cases and infected patients in hospitals are adding to the “very, very complex problem” facing the health service – including under pressure paramedics.

It comes after the Scottish Government officially requested help from the army to support the ambulance service amid deteriorating response times.

ADVERT

“It’s not just due to Covid,” Prof Griffin said, adding that the pandemic is responsible for “probably 30-40% of the issues that we’re seeing”.

He said: “With the reduction in elective surgery in many of the health boards across Scotland, it’s not just Covid.

“It has a significant contribution, but there are other multiple factors involved and it’s quite a complex situation.

“We have staff absences from illness, recruitment and isolation, such that we’re not able to staff certain areas.

ADVERT

“There’s a real problem with getting patients out of hospitals at the moment and into social care, because there is a care home workforce crisis which is causing issues and bed blocking.”

Addressing the specific problems facing paramedics and waits for ambulances, Prof Griffin continued: “If the hospital beds are all full, it’s extremely difficult for the ambulance drivers to get their patients into hospital, on to trolleys, into A&E and into beds if they need admission.

“It is a bit of a vicious circle.”

Warning the “huge backlogs” in the NHS will take years to address, he welcomed the Scottish Government’s recovery plan and proposals for diagnostic hubs as “really good steps forward”.

But he added: “They’re not going to be any good to us in the short-term unless we can staff them and at the moment we are very much short of nursing staff to be able to staff them.

“It’s all very well having surgeons and having anaesthetists, but if we don’t have the extended surgical team and the crucial nursing staff and other healthcare workers, we can’t actually do our jobs.”

The comments appear to contradict Nicola Sturgeon’s insistence that the crisis in the ambulance service is “largely caused by the Covid pressure” and it is “the latest in a number of significant challenges posed to us as a result of this pandemic”.

ADVERT

During First Minister’s Questions on Thursday, Sturgeon apologised to people who had endured long waits for ambulances, including the family of 65-year-old Gerard Brown, from Glasgow, who died while waiting 40 hours for treatment.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar urged Sturgeon: “Please do not use the pandemic as cover for your government’s failure,” as he described reports of people dying or being left in agony while waiting for ambulances as an “avoidable human tragedy”.

The First Minister replied: “I accept there were pressures on the ambulance service, as there were pressures on the entirety of our health service before this pandemic.

“But I do think anybody who suggests that the pandemic is not a significant contributory factor to what our health service is dealing with right now is stretching credibility.

“The pandemic has created the most challenging conditions for our National Health Service probably since the National Health Service was created and that is being felt acutely in Scotland.”

Pauline Howie, chief executive of the Scottish Ambulance Service, told Good Morning Scotland: “We’re currently experiencing an unprecedented period of significant and sustained demand on our services.

“That’s a result of increasing Covid-19 cases and also increasing non-Covid demand through illnesses and injuries.

“We’ve seen increased turnaround times at hospitals and staff absences due to isolating and these factors are all causing these unacceptable delays for patients.”

Asked what the winter will hold for the ambulance teams, she said: “It’s going to be extremely challenging, there’s no doubt about it.

“That’s why we’re looking at a whole range of measures to see what else we can possibly do ahead of winter to put in place capacity, not just in the ambulance service but across the whole of the health and care system.”


Adeline ‘can’t wait to make friends’ after life-saving transplant

Adeline Davidson is on the road to recovery - but her younger sister Josie has just been diagnosed with the same condition.

STV News

A little girl who waited two years for a life-saving bone marrow transplant is set to start nursery – as her sister faces a health battle of her own.

Four-year-old Adeline Davidson underwent the treatment to tackle a rare blood cancer and is now “desperate to make friends”.

But as Adeline’s life continues to get increasingly normal, her sister Josie has been diagnosed with the same condition.

The two-year-old is facing “a long road”, however her condition is not currently life-threatening.

ADVERT

Their mum Steph Davidson, from Alness in the Highlands, told STV News: “I think deep down I knew that Josie had something similar and it turns out that there’s two mutations in Adeline and Josie’s got one.

STV News
Josie Davidson has been diagnosed with same condition as her older sister Adeline.

“The condition can still lead to bone marrow failure, but at the moment she is stable, so we are going with that and taking everything as it comes.”

‘She’s desperate to make friends’

Meanwhile, Adeline is well on the road to recovery and is set to start nursery in two weeks.

ADVERT

“Things are really good,” said Steph. “We are nearly seven months post-transplant and her test results and blood counts are all great.

“She’s gone from hypocellular marrow, which means no cells, to 80 to 90 per cent cellularity, so nearly the same as any other normal person.

“She’s starting nursery in two weeks – I am thrilled, she’s thrilled, everyone’s thrilled. She’s ready to go.

“She is desperate to have friends and learn things and it’s a chapter we have been waiting for for two-and-a-half years – we are here, we have made it.”

STV News
Adeline Davidson can’t wait to start making friends.

Adeline has Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, a rare, inherited bone marrow failure. Symptoms can include low number of white blood cells, poor growth due to difficulty absorbing food and, in some cases, skeletal abnormalities.

Her treatment was delayed due to the pandemic, which the family said remained a big issue for them.

“It is still an obstacle, but we are at the point where we can’t keep delaying things for Adeline – it is always going to be there,” said Steph.

ADVERT

“There are other bugs and viruses, which we are prepared for, so we have just got to get on with it and be as normal as possible.”

‘Nothing more important’

In 2019, more than 300 people turned up at an open donor drive in Inverness to have swabs taken and sampled in a bid to find a match for Adeline.

Her match was eventually found abroad and the family want people to get tested and declare themselves as potential donors.

So far, Adeline has required more than 100 blood transfusions to support her health.

Steph said: “It kept her alive for two-and-a-half years. There’s nothing more important than that and I know there are so many other children and adults that need the same thing.”


Police sergeant who made lewd remarks about children snared in sting

Paul Bucknall, 52, believed he was communicating with two parents of young children.

Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service via Website
Glasgow Sheriff Court: Paul Bucknall pleaded guilty.

A police sergeant who made lewd remarks about children was caught in an undercover sting.

Paul Bucknall believed he was communicating with two parents of young children.

This was said to have occurred at Cathcart Police Station in Glasgow and at his home in Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire.

Prosecutors said the 52-year-old repeatedly sent messages that were “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.

ADVERT

The charges state he thought he was in contact with someone called Gemma and another parent called Lee.

However, they were instead an undercover colleague posing as the pair.

Bucknall is said to have made lewd remarks about children with reference to “sexual activity” in connection with them.

The incidents spanned between September and December 2019.

ADVERT

Bucknall pleaded guilty to two charges under the Communications Act during a hearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court on Friday.

The case was adjourned until next month when it is expected further information will be heard.

Police Scotland confirmed Bucknall is currently suspended from duty.


Scotland records 30 deaths and 5529 new cases of Covid-19

Official statistics published on Friday showed that there were 1037 people in hospital with the virus.

Marina Plotnikova via IStock
As of Thursday, 1037 people were in hospital with the virus, with 87 people in intensive care.

Scotland has recorded 30 deaths and 5529 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours.

Official statistics published on Friday showed that there were 1037 people in hospital with the virus, with 87 people in intensive care.

It comes after 26 deaths were recorded in Thursday’s statistics, and 30 deaths were recorded on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that around one in 45 people had Covid-19 in the week to September 11.

ADVERT

It is the the second week in a row it has been at the highest level since estimates began for Scotland in last October.

Concerns have also been raised over rising case numbers in care homes, with 206 positive cases confirmed amongst residents in Scottish care homes between September 6 and September 12.

The CEO of Scottish Care, Donald Macaskill, earlier warned of the challenge facing the sector.

“These are exceptionally challenging times for care homes in Scotland,” he wrote on Twitter.

ADVERT

“We have the highest number of Covid outbreaks since Feb and sadly the highest number of deaths since March.

“Please do all you can to support your local care home residents and workforce.”

On Tuesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that children in Scotland aged between 12 and 15 will be able to get a vaccine from Monday.

Drop-in clinics will be open next week for those who have read the information provided regarding vaccination.

In the following week, letters will be sent to all 12 to 15-year-olds inviting them to an appointment at a drop-in centre or vaccination clinic.

The First Minister also announced that from Monday, booster jabs will be offered to all adults over 50 in Scotland.

The booster will also be offered to frontline health and care workers and to younger adults with certain health conditions that put them at higher risk and to household contacts of people with suppressed immune systems.

More on:

Man who stabbed boy to death with pair of scissors jailed

Connor McMath, 21, struck Sean Ford, 15, in the neck in front of other stunned youngsters.

Georgeclerk via IStock
Court: Connor McMath, 21, has been jailed for at least 15 years.

A killer who stabbed an innocent boy to death with a pair of scissors has been jailed for at least 15 years.

Connor McMath, 21, struck Sean Ford, 15, in the neck in front of other stunned youngsters.

Prosecutors said the teen had “done nothing” wrong and instead had been a peacemaker after a friend had been assaulted at the flat in North Wishaw, Lanarkshire, on March 7, 2020.

McMath fled the scene leaving his stricken victim, who never survived the attack.

ADVERT

On Friday he was handed a life sentence at the High Court in Glasgow having earlier been convicted of murder.

Lord Matthews told him that “this one act of impulsive violence” had ruined a number of lives.

The judge added: “This kind of thing sadly all too often results in stupid arguments and violence, which, in this case, was sadly fatal.

“The circumstances are even more incomprehensible as there was no need for you to get involved at all.

ADVERT

“You know perfectly well that you were responsible for the death of a child and that must be met with significant punishment.”

The trial last month heard how McMath was “acting hard” before the killing.

McMath joined a number of youngsters at the flat along with 18-year-old Derek Paton.

Jurors heard claims it was there Paton assaulted a 15-year-old boy, who was a friend of Sean.

Sean, of Wishaw, came into the room and stated: “What are you doing that for? That’s my pal.”

As the schoolboy then sat down, McMath suddenly lashed out for no apparent reason.

A 13-year-old girl told the trial: “He took scissors out of his pocket and the next thing I knew there was blood everywhere.”

ADVERT

As a dying Sean begged for help, the killer fled from the flat.

A 999 call was made as a 14-year-old girl gave Sean CPR.

However, the tragic teenager died from a stab wound to the neck.

McMath, also of Wishaw, soon texted his grandfather asking to stay with him.

In a message, he stated: “I have stabbed someone in the neck… like an idiot.”

McMath also confessed to his parents. Asked why he had attacked someone, he replied: “Don’t know.”

McMath denied murder, claiming self-defence and that he had not aimed the scissors at Sean.

But, in his closing speech, prosecutor Chris McKenna told jurors: “Sean Ford had done nothing to justify what happened to him – far from it.

“The evidence suggests he was trying to calm the situation down.”

Donald Findlay, defending, said what happened that night was “desperately unfortunate”.

The QC added: “It is clear he did not start the incident, but he reacted and, as a consequence, someone died.”


Community bookshop saved after raising ‘incredible’ £55,000

Among the donors were Scottish writers Ian Rankin and Christopher Brookmyre.

Ruth Galloway via Supplied
Guid Reads in Alva is 'more than just a bookshop'.

A bookshop set up during the pandemic has been saved after more than 1000 people donated to buy it from the landlord.

On Tuesday, August 31, Ruth Galloway was in Guid Reads, the space she set up in Clackmannanshire to offer the community a place to escape from coronavirus and into books, when she was told the building was being sold.

Last year, as the pandemic spread, Ms Galloway had taken to loading up a folding bookcase, taking it to the park in Alva and inviting others to come swap literature to help “spread joy”.

As the mobile library became more popular and nights got darker in winter, the mum decided the books could do with a more permanent home.

Ruth Galloway via Supplied
ADVERT

On September 12, the start-up cost for the community bookshop, £900, was crowdfunded in a single day.

Ms Galloway said it had been a “crazy dream to open a community book shop to raise funds for good causes and bring people together” and then it actually happened.

Since then, Ms Galloway said, the store has helped hundreds of people and not only by giving them the escapism offered by books.

“It’s books that always got me throught the hard times.”

Ruth Galloway

“The books are a cover for the good we can do in the community,” she told STV News.

ADVERT

“At Christmas time we were ordering presents for older people. Recently we helped someone move into sheltered accomodation because all the usual channels weren’t able to due to Covid.”

Despite the lockdown, Guid Reads was able to remain open, at least for click and collect, because it was classed as essential.

Ruth Galloway via Supplied

“It’s books that always got me through the hard times,” Ms Galloway said.

“It’s important people have access without having to spend a lot of money.”

But nearly a year later, Guid Read’s landlord visited the store to let her know he was retiring and selling the property.

“Initially I panicked,” Ms Galloway said. “But it’s totally understandable and he was basically coming to let us know and give us first refusal.

“I had the idea to fund it in small chunks and write people’s names on the front of the shop. I was thinking it was a crazy idea.”

Ruth Galloway via Supplied
ADVERT

She also thought people could get some books in return to entice them donate.

Ms Galloway posted her fundraising idea on social media and within seconds she had responses pledging their support.

Just one day later and Guid Reads had received £40,000 in donations to help save the shop from being sold to someone else.

“I’m all in a bit of a daze, I don’t know what happened”, Ms Galloway said.

Among the donors were Scottish writers Ian Rankin and Christopher Brookmyre, and author Neil Gaiman retweeted the fundraiser.

There was also an anonymous donation of £5000, with lots of people asking for books to be given to schools, community projects or to be kept by the shop in return.

Having received a valuation of the property, and raising now more than £55,000, the future of Guid Reads has been secured.


St Andrews ousts Cambridge and Oxford in Times university rankings

It took first place this year due to student satisfaction, research, teaching quality, entry standards and graduate outcomes.

University of St Andrews via University of St Andrews

The University of St Andrews has been ranked the top university in the United Kingdom for the first time.

Situated in Fife, the uni tops The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022, published on Friday.

It is the first time in the near 30-year history of the definitive Guide, and UK university league tables in general, that a university other than Oxford or Cambridge has topped the rankings.

Founded in 1413, St Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in the English speaking world and has consistently been in the top three of the Times and Sunday Times Guide in recent years.

ADVERT

It took first place this year by virtue of its strong performances in student satisfaction, research, teaching quality, entry standards and graduate outcomes.

St Andrews via St Andrews
St Salvator’s Quad hearts from above. University of St Andrews

The methodology used by the Guide editors to rank the UK’s universities has not changed this year.

Guide editor Alastair McCall said: “St Andrews’ achievement in topping our institutional table should not be underestimated.

“Never before has any university other than Cambridge and Oxford finished top of our – or any other – domestic ranking of universities.

ADVERT

“It is no fluke. The university has been closing in on the Oxbridge duopoly for several years, buoyed by outstanding levels of student satisfaction which have peaked during the past year of pandemic disruption on campus.

“Strange to say for an institution that has been around for 600 years, but topping our UK rankings for the first time truly marks St Andrews ‘arrival’ as a serious challenger to Oxford and Cambridge.”

University of Edinburgh. via University of St Andrews
St Andrews students: Jack Campbell, from Glasgow, Ignacio Ugalde from Buenos Aires, Estelle Smalstig from Chicago, Samiyah Lunat from London, Chloe Chuck from Lincolnshire and Carmella Neal from Seattle.

The president of St Andrews Student’s Association welcomed the news that she says is testament to the hard work and dedication of staff and students during a difficult year.

Lottie Doherty said: “It’s amazing news. It’s brilliant that St Andrews has made number one, not just for the university and its staff but for all the students here as well.

“It really is a testament to how well the last year has gone despite the difficult conditions.”

University chancellor, Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, said: “This welcome and deserved achievement reflects the outstanding nature of the student experience at St Andrews University.

“Under the inspired leadership of the principal, professor Sally Mapstone, and her senior team, the standards set in these difficult times in teaching, research, and management at every level are truly remarkable.”

ADVERT

And principal and vice-chancellor, professor Mapstone, is hoping the triumph over the Oxbridge duo will inspire others.

She said: “I am thrilled for our students, staff and alumni. They are the people who made this happen.

“As one community, we strive constantly for excellence, and have a strategy that hasn’t been afraid to believe St Andrews could challenge at the very top by combining the best teaching, world-leading research, and an unswerving commitment to student satisfaction and achievement.

University of St Andrews via University of St Andrews
Red Gown ambassadors on St Sallies Lawn. University of St Andrews.

“Of course we’ll enjoy this remarkable result, and I expect there may be a little good-natured cross-border teasing amongst colleagues.

“Principals have a longstanding tradition of celebrating good league table results, and quietly ignoring those that may not be so flattering, and I have every intention of observing that tradition.

“I hope the fact that the staff and students of a small, Scottish institution have been able to break through the hitherto impenetrable Oxbridge ceiling will inspire others, and show that the status quo is only that if you allow it to be.”

In addition to the institutional ranking, the university also tops seven of the subject league tables.

St Andrews is top in the UK for business management and marketing, computer science, English, Middle Eastern and African studies, philosophy, physics and astronomy, and international relations.

Mystery donor gives cat and dog home £26,000 in cryptocurreny

The Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home relies solely on donations to rescue, reunite and rehome animals.

bluecinema via IStock
Last year, the home cared for 610 dogs and 247 cats.

A cat and dog home is celebrating after receiving an anonymous donation of more than £26,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

The mystery donor gave the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home the virtual cash after the animal welfare charity started accepting cryptocurrency donations just last week.

The home, in Seafield, relies solely on the generosity of others and said the surprise gift will help them look after their animals.

Karlyn Robertson, development manager, said: “We wish we could thank this donor in person but instead we would like to send them a message – I hope you know how much this is appreciated and what it means to us.

ADVERT

“The home is entirely funded by donations and your generosity will go a long way to helping us keep our animals fed, sheltered and having the veterinary care they need.”

It costs the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home around £2m a year to rescue, reunite and rehome stray and unwanted pets across East of Scotland.

Last year, the home cared for 610 dogs and 247 cats.

The charity also works in the local community to tackle pet poverty, keeping animals in loving homes with its dedicated food bank.

ADVERT

The large donation was made anonymously, through The Giving Block website, in the Ethereum (ETH) currency.

It came just days after the charity launched its platform for accepting the virtual coinage and since then the home has received donations in a range of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin.

Ms Robertson said: “Cryptocurrency donations are a new area for the home but it’s amazing to see this take off so quickly and what a huge impact it can have on the care of our dogs and cats.

“It comes at the perfect time for us when other income streams like in-person events have been disrupted, so we couldn’t be more grateful for this lifeline.”


You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?