The Week Unwrapped: Quitting China, social age checks and dental deserts

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

AirBnB quits China

The holiday rental company AirBnB has abandoned its ambitious plans to expand into the Chinese market. It blamed the pandemic, and specifically Beijing’s zero-Covid policy, which has led to strict lockdowns in many part of the country. But AirBnB joins a long list of successful western companies that have failed in China, often due to a confluence of politics and market inertia. What does the latest case tell us about doing business with Beijing?

Social age checks

Yubo, a social network with 60m worldwide users, including 5m in the UK, is about to become the first to police a ban on under-13s using strict ID checks. The site will use artificial intelligence and facial analysis in an attempt to thwart under-age users from circumventing automated age-verification. Yubo’s move is topical, coming as parliament begins to debate the government’s Online Safety Bill. Will either of these developments lead bigger social networks to enforce their own age policies? 

DIY dentistry

The UK is facing an major dental crisis as millions struggle to access NHS dental care. In England, only a third of adults – and half of children – now have access to an NHS dentist, according to the Association of Dental Groups. Dental charities have said they are seeing a rise in “extreme cases” of DIY dentistry as more so-called ‘dental deserts’ emerge – areas of the country where there are no NHS dental surgeries treating patients. What is at the root of such a serious decline in NHS dentistry in England, and how can we stop the rot

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