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YouTube CEO Addresses Creator Concerns After Talks With Shane Dawson, James Charles, and Others

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  • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki addressed several creators concerns in a blog post published Tuesday.
  • Wojcicki promised to support creators by making changes to the trending page, manual claims systems, and other policies that have long frustrated users.
  • She also used the blog post to defend the company’s efforts to combat predatory comments and uploads of violent attacks.

Wojcicki on Creator Issues

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki addressed several major creators complaints in a blog post posted Tuesday. Wojcicki’s latest statement follows several meetings she recently had with massive creators like Shane Dawson and James Charles.

One of the biggest complaints from users is that it is unclear what gets a video demonetized. To make things clearer, the company says it plans to make the guidelines more detailed. This would give creators a better idea of what will make their content ineligible for monetization and help them to make more informed choices.

Trending Page

Wojcicki also touches on the trending page and how videos are chosen, saying that the list is meant “to show content a wide range of viewers would find interesting.” The CEO said the company is “especially careful about the safety of these videos” and ensures they don’t contain profanity or mature content.

“Eligible videos are then ranked based on a calculation of their “temperature”—how quickly that video is generating views,” Wojcicki added.

After receiving complaints about what is often selected for the trending page, Wojcicki says that moving forward, at least half of the videos included will be from a “diverse set” of YouTubers. The rest will be from music and traditional media.

Manual Claims

Another place that has caused many headaches for YouTubers is the Manual Claims System, especially when someone will claim a few seconds of a video and take all of the revenue from it. After hearing about these issues directly from creators, Wojcicki says that they are “exploring improvements in striking the right balance between copyright owners and creators.”

Wojcicki says that they are also going to “do more to discourage” creators from harassing each other, after hearing stories of threats and doxing. She also says the company is working to better communicate with creators by listening to feedback, adding new features to the YouTube Studio Beta, and updating the community guidelines strike system that rolled out in February.

The Balancing Act

Wojcicki also talks about the balancing act of trying to maintain an open platform, while at the same time managing community guidelines and being a responsible company. One situation that many have been discussing is YouTube’s reaction to the spotlight on pedophiles in comment sections back in February.

The platform decided to remove comments from many videos that included young children. Many impacted channels have spoken out against this, feeling that they have been unfairly targetted. Wojcicki says that she understands the impact that this had, but added, “in the end, that was a trade-off we made because we feel protecting children on our platform should be the most important guiding principle.”

Previous coverage on YouTube’s issues with pedophilia.

She also talked about the balancing act in regards to YouTube’s response after the attack in Christchurch, Newzealand, where a gunman killed 50 people at two mosques. The shooter live streamed his attack on Facebook, but reuploads quickly appeared on YouTube. YouTube tried to keep videos with violent imagery of the attack off of the platform. While removing these videos, they also removed some videos that didn’t violate the community guidelines, like news and commentary videos which were reinstated after an appeal. According to Wojcicki, “given the stakes, it was another trade-off that we felt was necessary.

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Billboard) (TechCrunch)

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FaceApp Addresses Privacy Concerns

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  • Social media users are downloading a popular Russian-owned app called FaceApp to alter their photos with features like its aging filer.
  • However, many have raised concerns about the app’s privacy policies and terms of service, accusing the company of collecting user data to sell to third parties or share with Russia.
  • The company released a statement saying it does not do either of those things. 
  • However, other concerns about the app and what it specifically does with user data still exist. 

FaceApp Challenge Goes Viral

FaceApp responded Wednesday to users who expressed concerns about the app’s privacy policy.

FaceApp is a Russian app that uses artificial intelligence to alter photos of people’s faces. The app is two years old, but a recent FaceApp challenge has prompted the app to trend again. Users are posting photos of themselves with an aging filter that adds a few decades of wrinkles to their faces. 

The trend has caught on with celebrities, many of whom have posted their own photos. Drake showed us what promo for his farewell tour might look like.

View this post on Instagram

Best caption wins ovo tickets

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//www.instagram.com/embed.js

The Jonas Brothers gave us a glimpse of the year 3000.

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When you take a trip to the Year 3000.

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Scooter Braun showed the damage a Taylor Swift controversy might do to your skin.

Here’s what Lil Nas X might look like after severe back pain stops him from taking his horse down the old town road.

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feeling cute might delete later 😌

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We also got a peek of what Piers Morgan might look like in a month or so.

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I need a break.

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Issues About Privacy Policy Raised

Celebrity photos and jokes aside, there is actually a big controversy surrounding FaceApp and the access it has to information on users’ phones. Many voiced their concerns on Twitter, though much of the fears turned out to be speculation. 

Developer Joshua Nozzi said that he believed the app might be “uploading all your photos.”

Twitter @JoshuaNozzi.

Others brought up the app’s Russian ownership.

Meanwhile, some shared concerns about the vague language in the privacy policy.

These concerns lead users to dig through the app’s privacy policy and terms of service to see what some potential red flags could be. One line in particular in the terms of service has troubled users. 

“You grant FaceApp a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your User Content and any name, username or likeness provided in connection with your User Content in all media formats and channels now known or later developed, without compensation to you,” the policy reads. 

This essentially means that the app can take your photos and use them on their own. Many say that this could mean content could get used for marketing purposes. 

Another line in the privacy policy implies that the app can look at a user’s browser history.

“We use third-party analytics tools to help us measure traffic and usage trends for the Service,” the policy states. “These tools collect information sent by your device or our Service, including the web pages you visit, add-ons, and other information that assists us in improving the Service.”

The policy also says that while it will not sell your data to third parties, it can “share certain information such as cookie data with third-party advertising partners.”

FaceApp Addresses Concerns

FaceApp gave a statement to TechCrunch on Wednesday about some of the app’s policies to clarify some of the rumors spreading online.

FaceApp said that photos are processed in the cloud, but it debunked Nozzi’s theory that it was downloading all photos from your camera roll.

“FaceApp performs most of the photo processing in the cloud,” their statement reads. “We only upload a photo selected by a user for editing. We never transfer any other images from the phone to the cloud.”

At the bottom of the statement, they linked to Nozzi’s tweet, which has now been deleted, specifically to drive their point home.

“We don’t do that. We upload only a photo selected for editing. You can quickly check this with any of network sniffing tools available on the internet.”

The statement went on to say: “We might store an uploaded photo in the cloud. The main reason for that is performance and traffic: we want to make sure that the user doesn’t upload the photo repeatedly for every edit operation. Most images are deleted from our servers within 48 hours from the upload date.”

The statement said that the company accepts requests from users to remove all their data from its servers. They also added that the app’s features are available without logging in and said that 99% of users don’t log in, meaning that in most cases, they don’t have access to any data that could identify a person.

In its final points, the company confirmed that it does not sell data to third parties, and does not transfer information to Russia. 

Doubts Remain

Many don’t think the statement answered enough questions. For example, it did not address the app’s right to use your data, which is mentioned in the terms of service, or other marketing concerns. 

However, outlets like the Independent have noted that this is “fairly standard within such apps.”

Concerns about the app’s vague privacy policy also still exist. Many have noted that the policy has not been updated since the app came out in 2017.  FaceApp’s statement still did not fully say what the app can actually do with photos uploaded to it. 

Back in 2017, the chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, David Vaile, spoke to the Australia Broadcasting Company about this lack of transparency.

“They ask for way more rights than they need to offer the service to you,” Vaile said. “It is impossible to tell from this what happens when you upload it, that is the problem. The licence is so lax.”

See what others are saying: (The Independent) (Mashable) (Tech Crunch)

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Man Kills 17-Year-Old Bianca Devins and Posts Photos Online

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  • On Sunday 17-year-old Bianca Devins was murdered and her alleged killer posted graphic photos of her body online.
  • He also posted cryptic and incriminating messages to his Instagram story and called police making comments alluding to both the murder and potential self-harm.
  • He is being treated for serious injuries after slitting his neck and has been charged with second-degree murder. 
  • #RIPBianca began trending online, with people sharing condolences and speaking out about this type of violence.

Bianca Devins Killed

After a 17-year-old girl was murdered, graphic photos of her taken by her suspected killer circulated on online forums.

Bianca Devins was a micro-influencer in Utica, New York, who, according to reports, had around 6,000 followers at the time of her death. She was known as an e-girl who posted about video games and other online content. 

In a statement, the Utica Police Department confirmed that she was killed on Sunday morning. According to authorities, she and a 21-year-old man went to a concert together on Saturday night. On the way back, they got into an argument, which continued until they arrived back in Utica early on Sunday. 

The situation ended with the man pulling out a knife and stabbing Devins. 

“During this time it is believed that he took and distributed photographs of the killing on the Discord platform,” the statement reads. “Members of Discord then viewed the images and posts and contacted the Utica Police Department. We can confirm that the images distributed of both the victim and the offender’s injuries are authentic and occurred at the time of the incident.”

According to other reports, the photos were also posted on Instagram and 4chan.

The man then called 911 himself making comments alluding to the murder, as well as comments about harming himself. When officers arrived at the scene, he began stabbing himself in the neck.

An officer also noticed a tarp at the scene, with brown hair sticking out from underneath. 

“The male advised him that the female was beneath the tarp, and proceeded to pull out a cell phone,” the statement continues. “It was at this time that is believed that the male took self-photographs of himself laying across the deceased female.”

Officers were able to disarm the man, who was taken to the hospital with severe injuries but is expected to survive. He has been charged with second-degree murder. 

The police investigation is ongoing and officers are still trying to figure out the nature of Devins’ relationship with the suspected killer. According to their statement, they met online two months ago. However, some reports have identified him as her boyfriend, some say he was a man who was obsessed with her, and others call him a family friend. 

Devins’ family released a statement about the tragic news saying she “was a talented artist, a loving sister, daughter, and cousin, and a wonderful young girl, taken from us all too soon.”

“We are very grateful for the outpouring of love and sympathy we have received from our Friends, Family, Bianca’s Friends and the whole community,” the statement added. “Your prayers help to strengthen us through this difficult time.”

Photos Circulate Online

The story blew up on social media, with many focusing on the photos shared of the killing, as well as other social posts from the alleged murderer. 

The photo of Devins that was posted to Discord was reportedly captioned with, “sorry fuckers, you’re going to have to find somebody else to orbit.” Orbiting is a phrase that refers to a “non-alpha male” who idolizes and pedestalizes a woman in hopes of pursuing her. 

BuzzFeed News obtained screenshots of very cryptic messages he allegedly posted to his Instagram story that night. One included a quote from the movie Fight Club that says, “this is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.” 

Screenshot via BuzzFeed.

Another photo posted to his Instagram story said, “Here comes hell. It’s redemption, right?”

Screenshot via BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed News and the Washington Post obtained screenshots that allegedly came from his Discord and show him saying “subscribe to Pewdiepie.”

Screenshot via BuzzFeed.

BuzzFeed News also obtained screenshots of his Instagram bio before his account was taken down. It was updated to include a lifespan that read “10/06/1997-7/14/19,” which notably marked Sunday as his date of death. It also said, “just know that I feel no pain now.” 

Instagram gave a statement to Rolling Stone saying they removed his account.

“We have also taken steps to prevent others from re-uploading the content posted to that account to Instagram,” they added.

Discord also gave Rolling Stone a statement about the news. 

“We are shocked and deeply saddened by this terrible situation,” their spokesperson said. “We are working closely with law enforcement to provide any assistance we can. In the meantime, our hearts go out to Bianca’s family and loved ones.”

#RIPBianca Trends Online

The story also created the hashtag #RIPBianca, which began trending on Twitter. People are using it to share their condolences and to speak out against violence of this nature. 

Many are also commenting messages on Devins’ Instagram, which has gained over 100,000 followers, sharing messages of love and saying “Rest in Peace.”

However, the comment section has also brought out an ugly side of the Internet. Some users are commenting that they have the graphic photos available on their profile.

Others are fighting back against users victim-blaming Devins, claiming she “literally had it coming” for meeting men online and allegedly leading them on.

“What happened to bianca is absolutely sickening and the way the internet is responding is almost just as sick,” one comment reads.  

“She didn’t deserve it or have it coming. she was a child,” said another.

Editors Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murders or suspected mass murderers who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.

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VidCon Apologizes for Miles McKenna Deadnaming Incident

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  • YouTuber Miles McKenna was misgendered and deadnamed at VidCon by someone moderating a panel about LGBT activism and awareness. 
  • Deadnaming is referring to a person by their birth name or the name they went by before transitioning or changing their name.
  • McKenna criticized VidCon on Twitter for choosing a moderator to lead an LGBT panel who did not better understand trans issues.
  • VidCon, Hank Green, and the moderator, Stevie Wynne Levine, have apologized for the incident and said they hope issues like this can serve as a learning lesson for those who are unfamiliar with how to properly address their trans and nonbinary friends when referring to times that came before their transitions or name changes.

Miles McKenna Calls Out VidCon

VidCon has apologized after YouTuber Miles McKenna was misgendered and deadnamed during a panel about activism in the LGBT community.

On Sunday, the YouTuber tweeted that a panel moderator used female pronouns and deadnamed him when speaking about him.  To “deadname” someone means to refer to a person by their birth name, or the name they went by before transitioning or changing their name.

The panel he is referring to was also hosted in partnership with The Trevor Project, an organization that benefits LGBTQ youth. According to McKenna, The Trevor Project was the only group to immediately reach out and apologize.

He then explained that his main frustration was that VidCon should be finding moderators who know how to discuss the panel’s topics properly. 

Support For McKenna

Many people responded to the issue with online support for McKenna, including The Trevor Project. The organization issued a public apology, noting that what happened to McKenna is both “hurtful and invalidating” to transgender and non-binary people.

Other creators also chimed in to reach out, like Thomas Sanders and Damon Fizzy.

Other Twitter users expressed frustration that this happened to McKenna. Many wondered how he was deadnamed in the first place, seeing as his name is on all of his social media platforms. Others asked for VidCon to issue an apology. 

VidCon Apologizes

VidCon tweeted an apology, saying they would reach out to McKenna privately. 

McKenna posted on his Instagram story confirming plans to speak with VidCon.

Screenshot via Instagram @themilesmckenna

Hank Green, who is one of VidCon’s founders, also responded to McKenna’s tweet saying that he would DM him. He later tweeted a thread about the situation. Green acknowledged that as a cisgender and heterosexual man, he still has room to grow when it comes to LGBTQ issues.

He then explained that in no situation should a person deadname someone, regardless of the time of their life you are referring to.

He closed by saying that everyone “is learning all the time” and said that by talking about these issues on big platforms, we have opportunities to educate one another.

The moderator of the panel, Stevie Wynne Levine also apologized. She said she was sorry to have hurt McKenna and is heartbroken over the situation.

“I have been an out and proud member and advocate of the LGBTQ+ community for over a decade- spreading messages of love and support for those in my community,” she wrote.

She also explained that this was an unintentional mistake and provided context on how she deadnamed and misgendered McKenna.

“I took my role seriously, worked hard to research the best way to communicate the issues facing our queer community, as well as the participants that were on the panel,” Levine said.

“I understood from our conversation prior to the panel that telling the story of when we spoke back in 2014, about casting you in a female-led series, was OK. I regret not specifically asking you if I could reference your deadname in relation to the story, but the truth is- I really, really didn’t know.”

See what others are saying: (Metro)

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