The Magical Transformation of a ‘Polar Express’ Character

Nia Wilkerson, a senior at St. John’s University in Queens, has found herself in the center of attention during the holiday season, thanks to her likeness to the character Holly from the movie “The Polar Express.” Dressed in a pink nightgown, Wilkerson has been making TikTok videos in front of Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree, drawing attention from dozens of passersby who recognize her resemblance to the character. Despite the attention, Wilkerson has embraced her digital doppelgänger and has grown in popularity each year, now having nearly 250,000 followers on TikTok. Taking advantage of her seasonal fame, Wilkerson has found ways to profit from her social media presence, participating in TikTok’s creator fund and collaborating with other creators. While the feedback has largely been positive, Wilkerson has also received negative and racist comments, prompting her to stop reading the replies to her videos. Despite the ups and downs, Wilkerson and her friends continue to make videos and spread holiday cheer, even while waiting for an F train on a subway station platform.

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Moms Managing Girl Influencers: A Marketplace Stalked by Men

Elissa began receiving threatening messages early last year from a person calling themselves “Instamodelfan” targeting her daughter’s Instagram account. Despite having over 100,000 followers, the account has been under scrutiny for potentially exploiting children in exchange for money. However, the issue runs deeper than that. Research from The New York Times found that the platform […]

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Insights from The Times’s Investigation of Child Influencers

Instagram maintains the 13-year-old minimum age for accounts, but parents can take control, largely for their daughters’ ambitions to become influencers. Parents initiate their child’s modeling career or gain favor from clothing brands, but a dark subculture emerges, controlled by men attracted to minors, as per The New York Times. The emergence of mom-run profiles […]

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Rising Threat: China’s Growing Cyber Espionage and the New Vulnerability

Beijing’s Networks Expanding Hacking Efforts China has spread its hacking reach with new tools that exploit computer vulnerabilities and a network of contracted vendors. The large scale of China’s hacking operations poses a significant threat, with the FBI reporting China’s hacking program to be larger than all major nations combined. The U.S. has tracked consistent […]

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