Category Archives: YouTube

YouTube Makes It Easier For Users To Access News From Credible Sources

YouTube is launching two initiatives to make it easier for users to watch the latest news stories and to help news organizations create Shorts, TechCrunch reported.

The first initiative involves the introduction of what the company calls an “immersive watch page experience for news stories,” that pulls together content from authoritative sources. The second is the launch of the Shorts Innovation Program for News, which will offer financial grants and other support to news orgs creating short-form video on the platform.

YouTube posted in its Official Blog about it’s plans for news. From the blog post:

YouTube has long been a home for news viewers to learn more about the world and the news industry to reach them through innovative digital formats. Over the years, we’ve focused on developing a suite of products to help people easily find content from authoritative news sources, like our Top News and Breaking News shelves. Now, more than ever, we remain committed to connecting people to high-quality information they can trust, particularly in times of elections, unrest, and natural disasters.

In today’s digital news landscape, viewers are increasingly seeking out many different types of content, and we’re seeing newsrooms and journalists evolve to meet that need. Now, we’re sharing two initiatives to further improve the news watching journey on YouTube.

First, we’re introducing an immersive watch page experience for news stories on YouTube. The news watch page will pull together content from authoritative sources across video on demand, live streams, podcasts, and Shorts, allowing viewers to deep dive and explore multiple sources and angles. All on one watch page, people will be able to find relevant long-form video, live coverage, and Shorts to quickly catch up…

…Additionally, we’re launching the Shorts Innovation Program for News – an initiative to strengthen news organizations’ short-form video capabilities through financial grants and specialist support. To start, we’re working with over 20 organizations across 10 countries, providing a total of $1.6 million USD. Participants are selected based on having a strong existing long-form video presence on YouTube, but we are looking to improve and expand their Shorts news content creation.

Over the next year, YouTube specialists will work with news organizations, including Univision in the U.S., AFP in France, and Mediacorp in Singapore on Shorts content strategy and video production best practices…

Gizmodo reported that YouTube’s effort to streamline the news features on its platform comes as Meta’s Threads app has vocally rejected actively promoting news on the platform, addressed the possibility of promoting news on Threads after the apps launch, saying the company will not encourage news-driven content.

“Politics and hard news are inevitably going to show up on Threads – they have on Instagram as well to some extent – but we’re not going to do anything to encourage those verticals,” Instagram head Adam Mosseri wrote when the Twitter clone was launched, Gizmodo reported.

He reiterated Meta’s decision in a Threads post last week, writing: “We won’t do anything to get between people and content from accounts they follow, regardless of whether or not the content is news, but won’t proactively recommend news to people who don’t seek it out.”

It seems to me that YouTube is very interested in boosting news for people who want to watch it on their platform. YouTube’s blog post indicates that they are making an effort to ensure that credible news sources will be selected for this project. That’s probably not going to please everyone, but it’s a good start.

YouTube Shares Principles For Partnering With Music Industry On AI Technology

YouTube Chief Executive Officer, Neal Mohan, posted “Our principles for partnering with the music industry on AI technology”. From the blog post:

Today, AI is moving at a pace faster than ever before. It’s empowering creativity, sparking new ideas, and even transforming industries. At this critical inflection point, it’s clear that we need to boldly embrace this technology with a continued commitment to responsibility. With that in mind, over the past few months I’ve spent time talking with AI experts working across YouTube as well as leaders in one of the most influential and creative forces in the world: the music industry.

For nearly our entire history, YouTube and music have been inextricably linked. As a hosting platform, YouTube connected fans worldwide and quickly became home for iconic music videos and breakout artists. Our deep partnership with the music industry has enabled us to innovate and evolve together – building products, features and experiences, from our YouTube Music and Premium subscription services, to global live-streaming capabilities, that spur originality and bring communities and fans even closer together.

Now, we’re working closely with our music partners, including Universal Music Group, to develop an AI framework to help us work toward our common goals. These three fundamental AI principles serve to enhance music’s unique creative expression while also protecting music artists and the integrity of their work…

Fortune reported that in the world of technology, sixteen years is an eon. That many years ago, Apple launched its first iPhone, and IBM created Watson. YouTube, which had just been acquired by Google, rolled out a groundbreaking tool that could identify copyrighted music within the videos that users uploaded to its site.

Now, in a remarkable indication of how much the world has changed since that time, YouTube has a new mission for its trusty copyright detection tool: to identify an expected deluge of songs composed by artificial intelligence.

According to Fortune, Mohan said the company will embrace AI wholeheartedly but responsibly. It will collaborate with artists and record labels to explore new ways to us AI in music, while also prioritizing protecting the creative works of artists, which includes continuing to develop its Content ID system.

But with so few guidelines and established best practices for the new era of generative AI, YouTube will be in uncharted waters. As it puts its plans into practice, YouTube’s approach to policing AI-generated music on its platform, as well as its success and struggles in the effort, is likely to have an impact that goes well beyond its own website, according to experts.

The Verge wrote that the quick background here is that, in April, a track called “Heart on My Sleeve” from an artist called Ghostwriter977 with the AI-generated voices of Drake and the Weeknd went viral. Drake and the Weeknd are Universal Music Group artists, and UMG was not happy about it, widely issuing statements saying music platforms needed to do the right thing and take the tracks down.

Streaming services like Apple and Spotify, which control their entire catalogs, quickly complied. The problem then (and now) was open platforms like YouTube, which generally don’t take user content down without a policy violation – most often, copyright infringement… So UMG fell back on something simple: the track contained a sample of the Metro Boomin producer tag, which is copywrited, allowing UMG to issue takedown requests to YouTube.

Personally, I am not interested in listening to music that was created by an AI, especially if that music was intentionally scraped from the internet to feed to the AI. I prefer supporting the musicians that make their work easily accessible on Bandcamp.

YouTube To Takedown Videos Promoting “Harmful Or Ineffective” Cancer Treatment

YouTube will remove content that promotes “cancer treatments proven to be harmful or ineffective” or which “discourages viewers from seeking professional medical treatment,” the video platform announced today, The Verge reported.

According to The Verge, the enforcement comes as YouTube is attempting to streamline its medical moderation guidelines based on what it’s learned while attempting to tackle misinformation around topics like covid-19, vaccines, and reproductive health.

YouTube posted on the YouTube Official Blog an Inside YouTube titled: “A long term vision for YouTube’s medical misinformation policies”. It was written by Dr. Garth Graham and Matt Halperin. Here is part of the YouTube blog post:

“In the years since we began our efforts to make YouTube a destination for high-quality health content, we’ve learned critical lessons about developing Community Guidelines in line with local and global health authority guidance on topics that pose serious real-world risks, such as misinformation on COVID-19, vaccines, reproductive health, harmful substances, and more. We’re taking what we’ve learned so far about the most effective ways to tackle medical misinformation to simplify our approach for creators, viewers, and partners…”

“…Moving forward, YouTube will streamline dozens of our existing medical misinformation guidelines to fall under three categories – Prevention, Treatment, and Denial. These policies will apply to specific health conditions, treatments, and substances where content contradicts local health authorities or the World Health Organization (WHO).”

Here’s what the framework will look like:

Prevention misinformation: We will remove content that contradicts health authority guidance on the prevention and transmission of specific health conditions, and on the safety and efficacy of approved vaccines. For example, this encompasses content that promotes a harmful substance for disease prevention.

Treatment misinformation: We will remove content that contradicts health authority guidance on treatments for specific health conditions, including promoting specific harmful substances or practices. Examples include content that encourages unproven remedies in place of seeking medical attention for specific conditions, like promoting cesium chloride as a treatment for cancer.

Denial misinformation: We will remove content that disputes the existence of specific health conditions. This covers content that denies people have died from COVID-19.

YouTube continued: Starting today, and ramping up in the coming weeks, we will be removing content that promotes cancer treatments proven to be harmful or ineffective, or content that discourages viewers from seeking professional medical treatment. This includes content that promotes unproven treatments in place of approved care or as a guaranteed cure, and treatments that have been deemed harmful by health authorities. For instance, a video that claims “garlic cures cancer,” or “take vitamin C instead of radiation therapy” would be removed.

CNN reported that YouTube’s Dr. Garth Graham said that cancer treatment fits YouTube’s updated medical misinformation framework because the disease poses a high public health risk and is a topic prone to frequent misinformation, and because there is a stable consensus about safe treatments from local and global health authorities.

YouTube says its restrictions on cancer treatment misinformation will go into effect today, and enforcement will ramp up in the coming weeks. The company has previously said it uses both human and automated moderation to review videos and their context.

In my opinion, it is good that YouTube wants to takedown videos that are posting misinformation about cancer treatments. People seeking information about cancer treatment on YouTube should not have to see the videos that are clearly misinformation.

YouTube Lowers The Barrier To Its Monetization Program

YouTube is lowering the requirements for creators to access to get access to monetization tools under the YouTube Partners Program (YPP). The company is expanding its shopping affiliate program to U.S.-based creators who are part of YPP and have more than 20,000 subscribers, TechCrunch reported.

According to TechCrunch, the Google-owned company said that the new conditions to be qualified for the partner program are:

  • Having 500 subscribers
  • 3 public uploads in the last 90 days
  • And either 3,000 watch hours in the past year or 3 million Shorts views in the last 90 days

Previously, the conditions were:

  • Having at least 1,000 subscribers;
  • And either 4,000 watch hours in the past year or 10 million Shorts views in the last 90 days.

TechCrunch noted that the three video upload per 90 days criteria is intriguing as long video creators may not have material to produce multiple videos during the time period despite gathering millions of views.

YouTube is applying this new eligibility criteria in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Taiwan, And South Korea. It will late roll it out to other countries where YPP is available.

YouTube posted “From Fan Funding to Shopping: More Ways for Creators to Earn on YouTube”. From the blog post:

Starting today, eligible creators will begin to be able to apply to YPP earlier – once they’ve met a threshold of 500 subscribers, 3 public uploads in the last 90 days, and either 3000 watch hours in the past year or 3M Shorts views in the last 90 days. These new partners will unlock access to fan funding features like channel memberships, Super Chat, Super Stickers, Super Thanks, and the ability to promote their own products with YouTube Shopping.

The Verge reported that smaller creators will still need to grow their footprint to cash in on ad revenue with YouTube saying the existing YPP requirements will remain for revenue sharing (the company notes that creators won’t have to reapply to the program once they hit the higher requirements).

According to The Verge, YouTube has used its ad revenue sharing program to entice creators to make money, especially to bolster the company’s short form content in recent months by introducing an ad revenue sharing program for Shorts.

PCMag reported that there is good news for YouTube creators already in the YPP who have more than 20,000 subscribers. YouTube is allowing you to take advantage of its Shopping affiliate pilot and tag eligible products in videos (and Shorts) to earn a commission. For now, this feature is limited to the US.

Personally, as someone who puts a lot of gameplay videos on YouTube, I can see how this might work for creators with huge audiences. Right now, my channel doesn’t meet the criteria to be eligible for YouTube’s new conditions. I like that the number of required subscribers has dropped from 1,000 to 500. I’m concerned that some small creators won’t be able to meet that goal.

YouTube’s Recommendations Are Leading Kids To Gun Videos

YouTube’s recommendations are leading young kids to videos about school shootings and other gun-related content, according to a new report, Engadget reported. According to the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), a nonprofit watchdog group, YouTube’s recommendation algorithm is “pushing boys interested in video games to scenes of school shootings, instructions on how to use and modify weapons” and other gun-centric content.

The researchers behind the report set up four new YouTube accounts posing as two 9-year-old boys and two 14-year-old boys. All accounts watched playlists of content about popular video games, like Roblox, Lego Star Wars, and Grand Theft Auto. The researchers then tracked the accounts’ recommendations during a 30-day period last November.

“The study found that YouTube pushed content on shootings and weapons to all of the gamer accounts, but at a much higher volume to the users who clicked on the YouTube-recommended videos,” the TTP writes. “These videos included scenes depicting school shootings and other mass shooting events; graphic demonstrations of how much damage guns can inflict on a human body; and how-to guides for converting a handgun to a fully automatic weapon.”

In a statement, a YouTube spokesperson pointed to the YouTube Kids app and its in-app supervision tools, which “create a safer experience for tweens and teens” on its platform, Engadget reported.

“We welcome research on our recommendations, and we’re exploring more ways to bring in academic researchers to study out systems,” the spokesperson said. “But in reviewing this report’s methodology, it’s difficult for us to draw strong conclusions. For example, the study doesn’t provide context of how many overall videos were recommended to the test accounts, and also doesn’t give insight into how the test accounts were set up, including whether YouTube’s Supervised Experiences tools were applied.”

The Associated Press reported that the test accounts simulated two nine-year-olds who both liked video games. The accounts were identical, except that one clicked on the videos recommend by YouTube, and the other ignored the platform’s suggestions.

According to The Associated Press, the account that clicked on YouTube’s suggestions was soon flooded with graphic videos about school shootings, tactical gun training videos, and how-to instructions on making firearms fully automatic. One video features an elementary school-age girl wielding a handgun; another showed a shooter using a .50 caliber gun to fire on a dummy head filled with lifelike blood and brains. Many of the videos violate YouTube’s own policies against violent or gory content.

The Tech Transparency Project provided key points from its report:

  • YouTube recommended hundreds of videos about guns and gun violence to accounts for boys interested in video games, according to a new study.
  • Some of the recommended videos gave instructions on how to convert guns into automatic weapons or depicted school shootings.
  • The gamer accounts that watched the YouTube-recommended videos got served a much higher volume of gun-and shooting-related content.
  • Many of the videos violated YouTube’s own policies on firearms, violence, and child safety, and YouTube took no apparent steps to age-restrict them.
  • YouTube also recommended a movie about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer to minor accounts, the study found.

According to the report, between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30, YouTube pushed 382 real firearms videos to the nine-year-old engagement account – an average of more than 12 per day. The videos includes graphic demonstrations of what high-powered weapons can do to a human torso or human head. YouTube served far fewer weapons videos – 34 – to the gamer of the same age who did not watch the recommendations.

During the same 30-day period, the report stated, YouTube served 1,325 real firearms videos to the 14-year-old engagement account – an average of more than 44 per day. The videos features shooting scenes and “how-tos” for using or modifying firearms. By contrast, the 14-year-old account that did not click on the recommended content got 172 weapons videos.

In my opinion, parents who have children between the ages of 9 and 14 should take steps to prevent their children and teens from seeing a flood of weapon-related videos. YouTube recommends the YouTube Kids app, and its in-app supervision tools.

YouTube Tests Blocking Videos Unless You Disable Ad Blockers

YouTube is running an experiment asking some users to disable their ad blockers or pay for a premium subscription, or they will not be allowed to watch videos, BleepingComputer reported.

As first spotted by a Reddit user this week,YouTube will display a pop-up warning some users that “ad blockers are not allowed”. “It looks like you may be using an ad blocker. Ads allow YouTube to stay free for billions of users worldwide,” the message adds.

Upon receiving this notification, users will have two options: either disable their ad blocker to allow YouTube ads or consider subscribing to YouTube Premium to get rid of all advertisements. As explained in the pop-up, “you can go ad-free with YouTube Premium, and creators can still get paid from your subscription.”

A YouTube spokesperson confirmed this experiment and said the company urges viewers to try YouTube Premium or allow ads on the platform.

“We’re running a small experiment globally that urges viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium,” the spokesperson told BleepingComputer. “Ad blocker detection is not new, and other publishers regularly ask viewers to disable ad blockers.”

IGN reported that Google has announced that it has begun experimenting with a feature that blocks users who have an ad blocker enabled on YouTube.

The initiative was first pointed out by Redditor Sazk100, who posted a screenshot a few days ago which mentions that ad blockers are no longer allowed on YouTube. The pop-up mentions that those that are using an ad blocker will not be allowed to watch videos on the platform unless they enable ads on YouTube or subscribe to YouTube Premium, which includes access to original programming on the platform and the ability to download videos while removing ads.

A YouTube employee also confirmed to a moderator on the YouTube subreddit that the feature is just an “experiment” that the team is currently working on.

According to IGN, Google testing out a feature that curbs ad blockers on YouTube should come as no surprise, especially with YouTube ads becoming more intrusive in recent years. Last year, the company did an experiment that forced users to watch a long chain of short and unstoppable ads.

Elsewhere creators have seen a steady decline in ad revenue, beginning with 2017’s infamous “Adpocalypse.” Many have turned to Patreon and other means in order to make up the shortfalls.

9To5 Google reported that a YouTube employee has since confirmed to the r/YouTube moderation team that, for now, this is just an “experiment”. For now, YouTube is only testing blocking ad blockers.

Really, it’s easy to see why YouTube might enact such a rule, 9to5 Google reported. Ad blockers strip away income generated from videos which pays for the ever-increasing storage and bandwidth needs of that content. But, at the same time, user frustration is also pretty clear. YouTube has been escalating its ad load tremendously in recent years, and YouTube Premium isn’t particularly affordable for occasional viewers at $10/month.

As for me, I started paying for YouTube Premium a while ago, because I find ads to be extremely intrusive and annoying. The subscription costs $10 a month, which feels like a reasonable amount for someone like me who posts a lot of content on YouTube. However, I also understand most people don’t use YouTube the way I do.

YouTube Adds 5 Premium Features

YouTube posted on its Official Blog “5 Premium features to up your YouTube game.” For more control and access, to ads-free, offline, background play and an uninterrupted music listening experience, here are some of our latest Premium features for pro-users – including new updates you can try out today.

Are you making the most of your YouTube Premium subscription? Whether you’re newly subscribed or have long been a part of the 80 million Premium members and trailers who enjoy exclusive features and benefits that allow for an even more immersive YouTube experience, there’s always something new for you to best take advantage of all we’ve got to offer. From more control and access, to ads-free, offline, background play and an uninterrupted music listening experience, here are some of our latest Premium features for pro-users – including new updates you can try out today.

Take control of what to watch with queuing on your phone or tablet

Are you the type who likes to jump from a Bad Bunny music video to the latest episode of Overtime from Dude Perfect? Queuing puts the control back in your hands allowing you to decide exactly what video you want to play next. Today, for Premium users, we’re expanding queuing to phones and tablets, giving you complete control over what you’re watching.

Watch YouTube together on Android and iOS

The only thing better than watching your favorite YouTube videos is sharing that moment with other people. That’s why we recently made sharing even easier. Through Meet Live Sharing on Android devices, Premium members can host Google Meet sessions where all attendees, regardless of whether they are Premium or free uses, can watch YouTube videos together. In the coming weeks, we’re also rolling out this experience for FaceTime users on iOS via SharePlay. No matter where your friends and family are, you can experience the joy of YouTube together.

Jump back into YouTube across devices

Sometimes, live can get in the way of your YouTube viewing. Maybe your morning commute ends before you’ve finished that new podcast episode. Perhaps you need to switch to that cooking tutorial from your laptop to your tablet in the kitchen. Now available on Android, iOS and the Web, Premium members can continue watching YouTube videos wherever they previously left off even as they switch between devices, allowing you to jump back in without a single interruption.

Keep the YouTube experience going when you’re offline

We understand that our users may not always be connected to the internet, but that doesn’t mean it should stop your YouTube Premium experience. With Smart Downloads, while you’re connected to Wi-Fi, we automatically add recommended videos straight to your library, ready for you offline viewing. Forgot to download your favorite content before boarding that long flight? Don’t worry! With this new feature you can watch videos on-the-go, whenever you want, while also discovering new content without the hassle of searching.

Enhance your video quality on iOS

To provide an even higher video quality experience for our Premium members, in the coming weeks we’ll be launching an enhanced bitrate version of 1080p HD video quality starting on iOS (and an experiment coming to Web soon too.) While all users will still have access to 1080p, this enhanced 1080p quality setting will look extra crips and clear, especially for videos with lost of detail and motion. Whether your an avid sports fan or locked in on the latest gaming videos, this new feature will bring an even deeper visual quality to our members!

I use YouTube’s Premium features, mostly because it enables me to make music playlists that don’t include ads in between the songs. I also post gameplay videos to a separate YouTube channel. I’m not likely to use these new features, but I’m certain that some people will use them all.