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YouTube Apologizes and Reverses Policy That Would Have Unverified Several Creators

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  • YouTube reversed an upcoming change to its verification system that would have removed the verification checkmarks from many creators, including some with more than a million subscribers.
  • YouTube said, starting by the end of October, it will update the application process for verification by confirming the channel’s identity as well as by ensuring the channel is “complete” with an icon, content, and recent activity. 
  • Users who would have lost their checkmark praised the decision after originally expressing concern over the previous announcement.

YouTube Reverses Verification Policy Change

A day after YouTube announced it would be removing the verification checkmarks of some creators, it reversed course on Friday, saying creators who are already verified can keep their verification.

“To our creators & users–I’m sorry for the frustration & hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said on Twitter. “While trying to make improvements, we missed the mark.”

“We heard loud & clear how much the badge means to you,” she continued. “Channels that currently have verification will now keep it without appeal. We’ll continue reviewing those channels to ensure we’re protecting creators from impersonation.”

A post on YouTube Creator Blog echoed and expanded on Wojcicki’s tweets, saying the move was originally intended to curb impersonations and clear up associations with what the checkmark means.

“The idea behind this update was to protect creators from impersonation and address user confusion,” the blog post reads. “Every year, we receive tens of thousands of complaints from creators about impersonation. Also, nearly a third of YouTube users told us that they misunderstood the badge’s meaning, associating it with *endorsement of content*, and not an indicator of *identity*. While rolling out improvements to this program, we completely missed the mark. We’re sorry for the frustration that this caused and we have a few updates to share.”

Many creators praised YouTube for listening to their concerns. 

“Couldn’t be happier that YouTube listened to creators about verification badges and that Susan personally addressed the issue,” LifewithMaK said on Twitter. “There truly is strength in numbers. Our voices were heard loud and clear.”  

YouTube Changes Verification Policy

YouTubers were first made aware of the now-canceled change with an email shared Thursday, some of which read, “We’re writing to you to let you know that we’re updating the eligibility criteria for channel verification. Unfortunately, with these changes, your channel no longer meets the criteria to be verified.”

Notably, that list includes several prominent YouTubers like LifewithMaK, MacDoesIt, JaackMaate, Strawburry17, and Kiwiz. All of those creators have over one million subscribers, and Kiwiz boasts 2.34 million.

Prior to the announced change, creators only needed to attain 100,000 subscribers on their channel to apply for verification; however, under the new change, which had been expected to be completed by the end of October, creators would also have needed to pass several other requirements.

The first would have ensured the channel belongs “to the real creator, artist, public figure or company it claims to represent.” The second requirement would have applied even more strenuous challenges, such as “representing a well-known or highly-searched for creator, artist, public figure or company.” Additionally, creators would have needed to be “widely recognized outside of YouTube and have a strong presence online.”

Following the announcement, popular YouTubers criticized the move on social media, with many fearing the loss of their verification would translate into fewer views. Without the checkmark, they also feared their content would be demoted in searches. Notably, verified users also receive prioritization at the top of the comment section. 

“This HAS to be a bug on YouTube’s end,” Kiwiz said. “I have literally been invited to YouTube creator only events and even have my own YouTube Partner manager.  How is getting 15-20 million views a MONTH with over 2 million subscribers NOT fitting the criteria?”

Machiazelli Kahey the creator of MacDoesIt, a channel with around 1.9 million subscribers, criticized the platform after having appeared in a YouTube promotional campaign promoting black artists during Pride month.

Hi @youtube if you don’t keep my channel verified I would not like you to use my photos as marketing purposes on your socials,” he said in a Thursday Instagram story. “If you want to use me to shape the face of your company you’re gonna have to respect me as a face of your company thank you.” 

Several other major creators like James Charles and Jacksepticeye were not in danger of losing their checkmarks, but they still defended other creators on social media.

“Everyone getting unverified on YT today,” Jacksepticeye said. “It’s a slap in the face but try not let it get to you and demotivate you. Keep creating and making cool shit.”

Confusion Over Checkmarks

On the same day as the announcement, many users soon became confused on who would be losing a checkmark and who wouldn’t. 

One such example involved Jake Paul, who currently does not have a checkmark. YouTube later clarified, saying Paul lost the checkmark before the announcement when he changed his channel name to a joke name.

People also noticed mega creator PewDiePie, who recently hit 100 million subscribers, lacked a checkmark on mobile; however, PewDiePie has a checkmark on the site’s desktop layout.

YouTube then clarified again, saying, “The checkmark has never appeared on YouTube mobile channel pages (this will be added soon).”

Still, users were left confused after noticing that James Charles apparently has a verification check on mobile.

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube
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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Says Trump Ban Was the “Right Decision” But Sets “Dangerous” Precedent

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  • While defending Twitter’s decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump, CEO Jack Dorsey noted the “dangerous” precedent such a move set.
  • “Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation,” Dorsey said in a lengthy Twitter thread on Wednesday. “They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning.”
  • Dorsey’s message came the same day Twitter fully reinstated Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Co.) account, hours after locking it for violating Twitter rules. A Twitter spokesperson later described the lock as an “incorrect enforcement action.”

Dorsey Describes Trump Ban as a Double-Edged Sword

In a lengthy Twitter thread published Wednesday, CEO Jack Dorsey defended his platform’s decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump, while also noting the “dangerous” precedent such a unilateral move sets.

Twitter made the decision to ban Trump on Jan. 8, two days after pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol complex in an assault that left multiple dead.

“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban [Trump] from Twitter, or how we got here,” Dorsey said in the first of 13 tweets. 

Nonetheless, Dorsey described Trump’s ban as “the right decision for Twitter.”

“Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” he added.

“That said, having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications,” Dorsey continued.

“[It] sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.”

Dorsey described most bans as a failure of Twitter to “promote healthy conversation,” though he noted that exceptions to such a mindset also exist. Among other failures, Dorsey said extreme actions like a ban can “fragment public conversation,” divide people, and limit “clarification, redemption, and learning.”

Dorsey: Trump Bans Were Not Coordinated

Dorsey continued his thread by addressing claims and criticism that Trump’s ban on Twitter violated free speech.

“A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same,” he said.

Indeed, multiple legal experts have stated that Trump’s ban on social media does not amount to First Amendment violations, as the First Amendment only addresses government censorship. 

“If folks do not agree with our rules and enforcement, they can simply go to another internet service,” Dorsey added. However, Dorsey noted that such a concept has been challenged over the past week. 

Trump has now been banned or suspended from a number of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. On Wednesday, Snapchat announced plans to terminate Trump’s account in the “interest of public safety.” Previously, Snapchat had only suspended his account, but as of Jan. 20, it will be permanently banned. 

Addressing criticism of the swift bans handed down by these platforms in the wake of the Capitol attack, Dorsey said he doesn’t believe Trump’s bans on social media were coordinated.

“More likely: companies came to their own conclusions or were emboldened by the actions of others,” he said.

Twitter Reverses Course of Locking Rep. Lauren Boebert’s Account

Dorsey’s thread regarding the fragile nature of regulating users’ privileges on the platform seemed to play out earlier the same day.

On Wednesday, newly-elected Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Co.) posted a screenshot to Instagram showing that her Twitter account had been locked for six days. The screenshot stated that she had violated Twitter’s rules and would be unable to tweet, retweet, or like until her account was unlocked. 

Hours later, Twitter reversed course and fully reinstated her account. 

“In this instance, our teams took the incorrect enforcement action. The Tweet in question is now labeled in accordance with our Civic Integrity Policy. The Tweet will not be required to be removed and the account will not be temporarily locked,” a spokesperson for the platform told Insider.

It is unknown what tweet caused that initial ban, as Twitter refused to say. 

The latest tweet from Boebert’s account to be tagged with a fact check warning is from Sunday. In that tweet, she baselessly and falsely accuses the DNC of rigging the 2020 Election, a claim that largely inspired the Capitol attacks. 

See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (CNN) (Associated Press)

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Uber and Lyft Drivers Sue To Overturn California’s Prop 22

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  • A group of Uber and Lyft drivers filed a lawsuit Tuesday against California’s controversial Prop 22, a ballot measure that was approved by nearly 59% of state voters in the 2020 election. 
  • While Prop 22 does promise drivers wage guarantees and health insurance stipends, it also eliminated some protections as well as benefits like sick pay and workers’ compensation.
  • In their lawsuit, the drivers argue that Prop 22 “illegally” prevents them from being able to access the state’s workers’ compensation program. 

What’s in the Lawsuit?

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, a group of Uber and Lyft drivers asked California’s Supreme Court to overturn the state’s controversial Prop 22 ballot measure.

The drivers behind the lawsuit, along with Service Employees International Union, allege that Prop 22 “illegally” bars them from being able to participate in the state’s workers’ compensation program. 

Additionally, they argue that the measure violates California’s constitution by“stripping” the state legislature of its ability to protect who unionize. 

“Every day, rideshare drivers like me struggle to make ends meet because companies like Uber and Lyft prioritize corporate profits over our wellbeing,” Plaintiff Saori Okawa said in a statement. 

Conversely, Uber driver and Prop 22 activist Jim Pyatt denounced the lawsuit, saying,“Voters across the political spectrum spoke loud and clear, passing Prop 22 in a landslide. Meritless lawsuits that seek to undermine the clear democratic will of the people do not stand up to scrutiny in the courts.”

California ballot measures have been occasionally repealed in the past; however, most of the time, they’ve only been repealed following subsequent ballot measures. If this lawsuit fails, such an initiative would likely be the last option for overturning Prop 22.

What is Prop 22?

Prop 22, which was approved by 59% of state voters in the 2020 Election, exempts app-based transportation and delivery companies from having to classify their drivers as employees. Rather, those drivers are listed as “independent contractors,” also known as gig workers. 

Notably, Prop 22 was supported by major industry players like DoorDash, Uber, Lyft, and Instacart, which launched a massive $200 million lobbying and advertising campaign.

While those companies did promise wage guarantees and health insurance stipends for drivers, Prop 22 also eliminated a number of protections and benefits drivers would have seen under an “employee” status, including sick pay and workers’ compensation. 

Because of that, many opponents have argued that the measure incentivizes companies to lay off their employees in favor of cheaper labor options.

Last week, it was reported that grocery stores like Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions began laying off their delivery workers in favor of switching to ”third-party logistics providers.” According to Albertson’s, unionized delivery workers were not included in the layoffs. 

In recent coverage from KPBS, one San Diego Vons delivery worker detailed a situation in which he and delivery workers were called into a meeting with management. 

“I thought they were going to give us a bonus or a raise or something like that,” he said. 

Ultimately, that employee was told he would be losing his job in late February, even though he had been with the company for two-and-a-half years. 

“I didn’t want to tell them,” the employee said of his parents, one of whom is disabled. “I’m the breadwinner for the family.”

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (The Washington Post) (CNN)

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Daniel Silva Blames Cory La Barrie for His Own Death in New Legal Filing

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  • Popular Tattoo artist Daniel Silva said the death of YouTuber Cory La Barrie was due to La Barrie’s “own negligence,” in response to a wrongful death lawsuit from his family.
  • La Barrie died last May after Silva lost control of the sports car they were in, crashing into a street sign and tree. 
  • La Barrie’s family has accused Silva of negligence, saying his excessive speeding caused the crash. They also claim he was under the influence, though he was never formally charged with a DUI. 
  • According to TMZ, Silva filed documents saying La Barrie “assumed the risk of death when he jumped into Daniel’s car that fateful night back in May.”

Corey La Barrie’s Death

Popular tattoo artist Daniel Silva has blamed YouTuber Corey La Barrie for his own death in response to a wrongful death lawsuit from La Barrie’s family, according to TMZ.

The tabloid says he filed legal documents saying, “the car crash that led to Corey’s death was due to his own negligence, and he assumed the risk of death when he jumped into Daniel’s car that fateful night back in May.”

La Barrie died on May 10, his 25th birthday, after Silva was speeding and lost control of the sports car they were in, crashing into a street sign and tree.

Police say Silva tried to leave the scene but was stopped by witnesses. He was later arrested and charged with murder. Silva eventually reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead no contest to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

In August, Silva was sentenced to 364 days in jail, with credit for 216 days served because of California sentencing guidelines, even though it had only been 108 days since the crash at the time.

He also earned five years of probation, 250 hours of community service, and a suspended prison sentence of four years, which would be imposed if he violates the terms of his probation.

Wrongful Death Suit

Silva still faces the family’s lawsuit, which they filed the same month their son died.

In it, La Barrie’s family has accused Silva of negligence, saying his excessive speeding caused the crash. They also claim he was driving under the influence.

It’s worth noting that people close to Silva have disputed that claim and he was never charged with a DUI. However, the first police statement about the crash labeled it aDUI Fatal Traffic Collision.” Witnesses have said the two were partying earlier that night, though

See what others are saying: (TMZ) (USA Today) (Variety)

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