Discover more from After School by Casey Lewis
Scam Bots and Sextortion
A$AP Rocky is a Tim Burton stan; Hari Nef and Coco Jones star in the latest Skims campaign; ‘We Taylor-gated’: Taylor Swift fans descend on a Jets game; and the “I’m a ‘rent-a-mom’ for Gen Z college students — parents pay me $10K to cook, do laundry and bail them out of jail.”
TIKTOK IS REPORTEDLY TESTING A PAID, AD-FREE VERSION OF ITS APP, theverge
TikTok is giving users the option of upgrading to an ad-free experience for $4.99 a month. The move aligns with TikTok's efforts to explore alternative monetization methods, such as TikTok Shop, an in-app marketplace — but as consumers increasingly choose free ad-supported streaming services over paid ones, I can’t imagine too many people will upgrade…unless TikTok has plans to go so hard on ads that users have no choice but to pay up for UX reasons.
‘YOU’VE GOT TO BE DATA-DRIVEN’: THE FASHION FORECASTERS USING AI TO PREDICT THE NEXT TREND, theguardian
A cool use-case for AI: Forecasting agencies are turning to quantitative results generated by machine learning, which detect patterns within large datasets of runway show images, social media posts, search data, and online and in-store sales data. The idea here is that more accurate forecasting will reduce waste and ultimately make the fashion industry more sustainable; brands like H&M are exploring the integration of AI into their forecasting processes. (Obviously fashion forecasting ≠ trendspotting but I’m still going to use this as an opportunity to link to one of my all-time favorite pieces: The New Yorker on coolhunters.)
PROZAC NATION, MEET LEXAPRO SWEATSHIRTS, nyt
As someone who’s been on Zoloft most of my adult life, I’m all for “reclaiming” mental health issues, but something about glorifying anxiety and turning it into a, as the Times calls it, “fashion trend” doesn’t sit right with me. (Tbf, anxiety isn’t overdiagnosed like, say, ADHD, and people aren’t out here abusing Lexapro, so I’m probably just overreacting — I’m anxious, what can I say!)
The fashion trend also deeply resonates on TikTok — the hashtag for anxiety has over 34 billion views — and allows Gen Z and millennial users to reclaim their mental hardships as a form of self-expression. While the style varies across brands, young consumers are the constant. “Basically every successful young person I know has anxiety,” Willa Bennett, 29, said. She is the editor in chief of Highsnobiety, a fashion and media brand, and a front-row fixture during fashion weeks. “It’s just not taboo to talk about anymore.”
MY BOYFRIEND CHEATED ON ME WITH A SCAM SEX BOT, dazed
‘Porn bots’ are fake, automated accounts usually found on Instagram that have sexual photos of women as their display photos and often share links to fake porn sites to scam users. While “most people know instinctively that these accounts are dodgy,” some straight men are falling for the scams (and getting caught attempting to cheat on their partners). Between this and the Roman Empire, we’ve learned a lot about straight men these last few weeks.
‘IDK WHAT TO DO’: THOUSANDS OF TEEN BOYS ARE BEING EXTORTED IN SEXTING SCAMS, wapo
The number of sextortion cases targeting young people “has exploded in the past couple of years,” with teen boys being specific targets, said Lauren Coffren, executive director of the Exploited Children Division at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC, which serves as a clearinghouse for records of abuse, received more than 10,000 tips of financial sextortion of minors in 2022; by the end of July 2023, NCMEC had already received more than 12,500 reports
BOSSES ARE GETTING GEN Z’S SKILLS DEFICIT ALL WRONG: THE GENERATION SAYS IT’S HARD, NOT SOFT, SKILLS THEY NEED TO LEARN, fortune
The pandemic has disrupted social skills development, particularly in communication and networking — but according to a survey by Adobe, nearly half of Gen Z respondents (48%) believe they need more hard skills training at work, while only 33% prioritize soft skills training. Gen Z feels that their education system has failed to provide them with the necessary digital and technical skills for the workforce, with 56% admitting to having basic to no digital skills education.
One last thought: