Tag Archives: YouTube

YouTube Cracking Down On Third-Party Apps That Block Ads

Following the ad blocker crackdown, YouTube is explicitly going after third-party — often mobile — apps that let viewers skip advertising, 9TO5Google reported.

YouTube announced today that it is “strengthening our enforcement on third-party apps that violate YouTube’s Terms of Service, specifically ad-blocking apps.”

Users will see a “The following content is not available on this app” error message or experience “buffering issues” when they try to play content though those alternative clients.

“We want to emphasize that our terms don’t allow third-party apps to turn off ads because that prevents the creator from being rewarded for viewership, and Ads on YouTube help support creators and let billions of people around the world use the streaming service.”, YouTube wrote.

According to 9TO5Google, YouTube Premium, which hit 100 million subscribers in February, is offered as the solution for those that “prefer an entirely ad-free experience.”

Going forward, it will crack down on clients that violate these policies: “…when we find an app that violates these terms, we will take appropriate actions to protect our platform, creators, and viewers.”

The Verge reported that YouTube is bringing its ad blocker fight to mobile. In an update on Monday, YouTube writes that users accessing videos through a third-party ad blocking app may encounter buffering issues or see an error that reads, “The following content is not available on this app.”

Last year, YouTube “launched a global effort” to encourage users to allow ads while watching videos or upgrade to YouTube Premium. It also began disabling videos for users with ad blocking extension enabled.

But now, YouTube says its policies don’t allow “third-party apps to turn off ads because that prevents the creator from being rewarded for viewership.”  The block targets third-party apps that use YouTube’s API to get videos interruption-free. AdGuard says its not affected by the change since the app doesn’t use YouTube’s API.

According to The Verge, to get around this, YouTube once again suggests signing up for the ad-free YouTube Premium. This likely won’t come as pleasant news to all who watch YouTube through ad blocking apps, but it doesn’t look like YouTube is backing down in its battle against ad blockers anytime soon.

ArsTechnica reported YouTube is putting third-party ad-blocking on notice. An ominous post on the official YouTube Community Help forum titled “Enforcement on Third Party Apps” says the company is “strengthening our enforcement on third-party apps that violate YouTube’s Terms of Service, specifically ad-blocking apps.”

Google would really like it if you all paid for YouTube Premium.

According to ArsTechnica, another popular option is “NewPipe,” a from-scratch YouTube player that follows the open source ethos and is available on the FOSS-only store F-Droid. NewPipe wants a lightweight client without the proprietary code and million permissions that YouTube needs, but it also blocks ads.

Personally, I’ve been using YouTube Premium for a while now and it works well. It is something you have to pay for. I recommend it if you really don’t want to see YouTube ads.

YouTube Now Requires Creators To Label Videos Made With AI

Starting Monday, YouTube creators will be required to label when realistic-looking videos were made using artificial intelligence, part of a broader effort by the company to be transparent about content that could otherwise confuse or mislead users, CNN reported.

When a user uploads a video to the site, they will see a checklist asking if their content makes a real person say or do something they didn’t do, alters footage of a real place or event, or depicts a realistic-looking scene that didn’t actually occur.

According to CNN, The disclosure is meant to help prevent users from being confused by synthetic content amid a proliferation of new, consumer-facing generative AI tools that make it quick and easy to create compelling text, images, video and audio that can often be hard to distinguish from the real thing. 

Online safety experts have raised alarms that the proliferation of AI-generated content could confuse and mislead users across the internet, especially ahead of elections in the United States and elsewhere in 2024.

YouTube creators will be required to identify when their videos contain AI-generated or otherwise manipulated content that appears realistic — so that YouTube can attach a label for viewers — and could face consequences if they repeatedly fail to add the disclosure.

YouTube posted “How we’re helping creators disclose altered or synthetic content” From the post:

Generative AI is transforming the ways creators express themselves — from storyboarding ideas to experimenting with tools that enhance creative process. But viewers increasingly want more transparency about whether the content they’re seeing is altered or synthetic.

That’s why today we’re introducing a new tool in Creator Studio requiring creators to disclose to viewers when realistic content — content a viewer could easily mistake for a real person, place, or event — is made with altered or synthetic media, including generative AI.

The new label is meant to strengthen transparency with viewers and build trust between creators and their audience. Some examples of content that require disclosure include:

Using the likeness of a realistic person: Digitally altering content to replace the face of one individual with another’s or synthetically generating a person’s voice to narrate a video.

Altering footage of real events of places: Such as making it appear as if a real building caught fire, or altering a real cityscape to make it appear different than reality.

Generating realistic scenes: Showing a realistic depiction of fictional major events, like a tornado moving toward a real town.

Engadget reported that YouTube says it might apply labels to a video if a creator hasn’t done so, “especially if the altered or synthetic content has the potential to confuse or mislead people.” The team notes it wants to give creators some time to get used to the new rules, YouTube will likely penalize those who persistently flout the policy by not including a label when it should be.

In my opinion, it sounds like YouTube is intending to make the distinction between real-world videos and videos that include AI generated ones. That might be frustrating for some creators, but will be useful for preventing people from confusing reality with AI manipulated content.

YouTube Designed A Richer Experience For Your TVs

More than ever before, viewer are turning to the largest screen in their homes — their TVs — to watch their favorite YouTube content from dogs, to video games, to sports highlights and more, YouTube posted on their Official Blog.

And while watching television has historically been considered a passive experience, one where you can sit back and enjoy your favorite programs we’re building one that is uniquely YouTube that gives viewers the opportunity to engage with the content they’re watching, even on the big screen. As watch time on TVs has grown to more than 1 billion hours per day, we’re faced with a fun challenge: How can we bring familiar YouTube features and interactivity to the living room while ensuring that the video remains at the center of the experience?

Finding the balance

While we wanted to introduce more interactivity for viewers, we need to ensure that the primary video actions (pause, rewind, fast forward) remained easily accessible and intuitive – after all, content is the core of YouTube.

Finding this balance meant simplifying user interactions to accommodate the remote control, while simultaneously making sure the new design would be applicable to a wide range of use cases.

What we learned from our users was: 

The new design works for features that require equal or more attention than the video itself (e.g. comments, description, live chat) but obscuring the video would be detrimental to the viewing experience.

We need to continue to prioritize simplicity over the introduction of additional lightweight controls.

A one size fits all solution may not be the best approach, as features such as live chat and video description benefit from different levels of immersion.

The Verge reported YouTube is constantly tinkering with its app design across different platforms and screen sizes, and shared the latest changes coming to its TV-optimized app. There’s a clear focus on making the viewing experience more interactive and giving greater prominence to chapters, comments, and video descriptions — without getting in the way of the video you’re trying to watch.

The new new shrinks the video down slightly to make space for the description, comments, and other elements around it. It’s not YouTube’s new default look, since many people will still prefer a full-screen layout. But you can easily click into the more interactive interface from the standard video player screen.

By shifting interactive features to the right side, YouTube is also making a renewed effort to bring shopping to the TV screen. You’ll see a “products in this video” section appear whenever creators include what’s being featured in their content. But YouTube hasn’t quite reached the stage of letting you complete an entire transaction from your TV; instead, the app will display a QR code that you can scan to finish buying an item on your phone. Not exactly seamless.

In my opinion, it appears that YouTube might be hoping to become the next Home Shopping Network. Right now, the best YouTube can do is post a QR code for those who want to buy something they saw in a video that they are currently watching.

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.