- 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.
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.
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.”
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)
Schools Across the U.S. Cancel Classes Friday Over Unverified TikTok Threat
Officials in multiple states said they haven’t found any credible threats but are taking additional precautions out of an abundance of safety.
Schools in no fewer than 10 states either canceled classes or increased their police presence on Friday after a series of TikToks warned of imminent shooting and bombs threats.
Despite that, officials said they found little evidence to suggest the threats are credible. It’s possible no real threat was actually ever made as it’s unclear if the supposed threats originated on TikTok, another social media platform, or elsewhere.
“We handle even rumored threats with utmost seriousness, which is why we’re working with law enforcement to look into warnings about potential violence at schools even though we have not found evidence of such threats originating or spreading via TikTok,” TikTok’s Communications team tweeted Thursday afternoon.
Still, given the uptick of school shootings in the U.S. in recent years, many school districts across the country decided to respond to the rumors. According to The Verge, some districts in California, Minnesota, Missouri, and Texas shut down Friday.
“Based on law enforcement interviews, Little Falls Community Schools was specifically identified in a TikTok post related to this threat,” one school district in Minnesota said in a letter Thursday. “In conversations with local law enforcement, the origins of this threat remain unknown. Therefore, school throughout the district is canceled tomorrow, Friday, December 17.”
In Gilroy, California, one high school that closed its doors Friday said it would reschedule final exams that were expected to take place the same day to January.
According to the Associated Press, several other districts in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania stationed more police officers at their schools Friday.
Viral Misinformation or Legitimate Warnings?
As The Verge notes, “The reports of threats on TikTok may be self-perpetuating.”
For example, many of the videos online may have been created in response to initial warnings as more people hopped onto the trend. Amid school cancellations, videos have continued to sprout up — many awash with both rumors and factual information.
“I’m scared off my ass, what do I do???” one TikTok user said in a now-deleted video, according to People.
“The post is vague and not directed at a specific school, and is circulating around school districts across the country,” Chicago Public Schools said in a letter, though it did not identify any specific post. “Please do not re-share any suspicious or concerning posts on social media.”
According to Dr. Amy Klinger, the director of programs for the nonprofit Educator’s School Safety Network, “This is not 2021 phenomenon.”
Instead, she told The Today Show that her network has been tracking school shooting threats since 2013, and she noted that in recent years, they’ve become more prominent on social media.
“It’s not just somebody in a classroom of 15 people hearing someone make a threat,” she said. “It’s 15,000 people on social media, because it gets passed around and it becomes larger and larger and larger.”
Jake Paul Says He “Can’t Get Cancelled” as a Boxer
The controversial YouTuber opened up about what it has been like to go from online fame to professional boxing.
The New Yorker Profiles Jake Paul
YouTuber and boxer Jake Paul talked about his career switch, reputation, and cancel culture in a profile published Monday in The New Yorker.
While Paul rose to fame as the Internet’s troublemaker, he now spends most of his time in the ring. He told the outlet that one difference between YouTube and boxing is that his often controversial reputation lends better to his new career.
“One thing that is great about being a fighter is, like, you can’t get cancelled,” Paul said. The profile noted that the sport often rewards and even encourages some degree of bad behavior.
“I’m not a saint,” Paul later continued. “I’m also not a bad guy, but I can very easily play the role.”
Paul also said the other difference between his time online and his time in boxing is the level of work. While he says he trains hard, he confessed that there was something more challenging about making regular YouTube content.
“Being an influencer was almost harder than being a boxer,” he told The New Yorker. “You wake up in the morning and you’re, like, Damn, I have to create fifteen minutes of amazing content, and I have twelve hours of sunlight.”
Jake Paul Vs. Tommy Fury
The New Yorker profile came just after it was announced over the weekend Paul will be fighting boxer Tommy Fury in an 8-round cruiserweight fight on Showtime in December.
“It’s time to kiss ur last name and ur family’s boxing legacy goodbye,” Paul tweeted. “DEC 18th I’m changing this wankers name to Tommy Fumbles and celebrating with Tom Brady.”
Both Paul and Fury are undefeated, according to ESPN. Like Paul, Fury has found fame outside of the sport. He has become a reality TV star in the U.K. after appearing on the hit show “Love Island.”
See what others are saying: (The New Yorker) (Dexerto) (ESPN)
Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos
The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.
Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws.
For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform.
The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.
It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end.
The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions.
First Twitch Hack
Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.
That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019.
It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.
Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already.