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Google and YouTube Fight Australia’s Plans to Make Them Pay for News

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  • Last month, Australia rolled out a draft rule that would require Google and Facebook to pay news outlets for their content.
  • Regulators claimed the move would help news organizations that were struggling due to falling ad revenue after an inquiry found that for every $100 spent in online advertising, nearly half went to Google and almost a quarter went to Facebook.
  • Google used its homepage in Australia to lobby people against the proposal in a popup that linked to an open letter. The letter claimed the rule would hurt Google and YouTube, put their free services at risk, and could lead to personal data being given to news organizations.
  • In a blog post also published Monday, YouTube made similar arguments and also claimed the move would hurt small creators.
  • Australia’s consumer protection agency disputed the claims and accused Google of spreading “misinformation” in its letter.

Google Lobbies Against Proposed Rule

Google published an open letter Monday alerting users about a proposed law in Australia that would require Google and Facebook to pay news media outlets for news content. 

Millions of Australians who visited their local Google homepage received a popup alert which warned that Google’s search engine was at risk of being hurt by a new regulation. That alert linked then links Google users to the company’s letter.

Source: The Verge

The letter references a draft regulation called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, which was first rolled out last month. Regulators argued that the new rule was needed to level the playing field for news media organizations, which have for years argued that Facebook and Google should pay them for displaying their content.

In Australia in particular, many news outlets were struggling to stay afloat even before the pandemic because ad revenues have fallen. According to estimates from the Australian Newsroom Mapping Project, since January 2019, over 200 newsrooms have reduced service, closed temporarily, or shut down permanently. 

In 2019, a government-lead inquiry that found both Google and Facebook were taking a disproportionate share of ad revenue despite the fact that a lot of their ad content came from news media organizations.

According to The Guardian, the inquiry found that for every $100 spent in online advertising, nearly half of that, or $47, went to Google alone. Facebook took in nearly a quarter at $24, and just $29 went to the rest.

Both Google and Facebook have expressed concerns and opposition to the draft legislation, but Google has taken a much more hardline response.

Google’s Open Letter

In the letter published Monday, Google argued that the proposed regulation “would force us to provide you with a dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube, could lead to your data being handed over to big news businesses, and would put the free services you use at risk in Australia.”

The letter goes on to claim that the rule would give news companies an “unfair advantage” because they would be “given information that would help them artificially inflate their ranking over everyone else.”

“The proposed changes are not fair and they mean that Google Search results and YouTube will be worse for you,” it stated.

Google also said that the rule would require it to tell news businesses how they can access data about how users utilize their products, and argued, “There’s no way of knowing if any data handed over would be protected, or how it might be used by news media businesses.” 

The company additionally claimed in the letter that it already partners with Australian news media, pays them “millions of dollars,” and sends them “billions of free clicks every year.”

“The law is set up to give big media companies special treatment and to encourage them to make enormous and unreasonable demands that would put our free services at risk,” it added.

YouTube’s Blog Post

YouTube also condemned the rule in a blog post published Monday, where the company reiterated many of the same points Google had brought up about preferential treatment and data sharing, broadly claiming it would “have negative consequences for the YouTube Community.”

“There are several areas that deeply concern us about this proposed law because it prioritises the traditional news industry over smaller creators of content and the platforms where they find an audience,” the blog post continued. “We are particularly concerned that it provides unfair advantages to large news businesses over anyone else online, including the very creators that make YouTube, YouTube.” 

The post then goes on to make the same argument Google made about giving publishers information that could inflate their ratings, which it claimed meant that creators “could receive fewer views and earn less.” 

YouTube also argued the law will “create an uneven playing field when it comes to who makes money on YouTube.”

“Through this law, big news businesses can demand large amounts of money above and beyond what they earn on the platform, leaving fewer funds to invest in you, our creators, and the programmes to help you develop your audience in Australia and around the globe,” it added.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Responds

In a statement responding to Google’s open letter Monday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) accused the company of spreading “misinformation” in its letter.

“Google will not be required to charge Australians for the use of its free services such as Google Search and YouTube, unless it chooses to do so,” it said. “Google will not be required to share any additional user data with Australian news businesses unless it chooses to do so.”

Rather, the statement explained, the draft regulation would simply “allow Australian news businesses to negotiate for fair payment for their journalists’ work that is included on Google services” and “address a significant bargaining power imbalance between Australian news media businesses and Google and Facebook.”

The ACCC’s statement concluded by noting that the agency will continue to consult on the draft with interested parties, including Google, until the consultation period ends on Aug. 28. 

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (CNN) (Reuters)

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TikTok’s Bryce Hall Launches Finance Podcast

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  • TikToker Bryce Hall has just launched a finance podcast titled “Capital University” with entrepreneur and investor Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano.
  • Pompliano will serve as a mentor figure, teaching Hall and listeners about building generational wealth, the basics of investing, and money management.
  • Hall was inspired to start the project after learning from the mistakes he made with money early on in his career. In the first episode of the podcast, he was also critical of other influencers who rely on YouTube ad revenue and TikTok brand deals while overspending on lavish items.
  • Some wonder if this venture will help change the public’s perception of Hall, who has developed a negative reputation for throwing massive parties during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Capital University

TikTok star and Sway House member Bryce Hall officially launched a finance podcast Tuesday where he and his fans will learn about money management.

The 21-year-old’s podcast is called “Capital University,” and he’s joined by co-host Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, an entrepreneur and investor who has worked for companies like Facebook and Snapchat before getting into venture capital.

Pompliano is supposed to serve as a sort of mentor figure, teaching Hall and listeners about building generational wealth, the basics of investing, and other tips for ensuring financial security.

Inspiration Behind the Podcast

However, Hall will also use the podcast to talk about his personal experience with fame and wealth at a young age. He told PEOPLE magazine that the idea for the podcast stemmed from mistakes he made earlier in his career.

″I always thought money was an object,″ Hall said. ″I was spending money before I even had it.″

He also talked about going ″completely broke″ and getting hit with taxes. All of this made him realize the importance of money management, which he though his fans might also want to know about.

Though he’s admitted to making mistakes with his money, he’s definitely worked to turn things around. For instance, he recently created an energy drink company called Ani with fellow Sway House creator Josh Richards.

On top of that, in the first episode of the podcast, Hall talked about his four-month-old merch brand, Party Animal, saying it clocked in more than $1 million in its first quarter.

Criticism of Other Influencers

With this new interest in learning about finance and business, the public could be seeing a lot more from Hall soon.

At the same time though, he also caught some attention for calling out the spending habits of another TikTok star, Thoman Petrou. He’s the co-founder of the Hype House, and Hall claims that Petrou, like other influencers, is taking a shorter-term approach in his career by relying on YouTube ad revenue and TikTok brand deals.

In fact, Hall estimated that Petrou makes about $150,000 a month but says he overspends on lavish items.

“He, along with many other influencers, like to really prove that they’re making a shit ton of money,” he said in the first episode of the podcast.

“But when you spend it like an idiot, and you’re buying like McLarens, Porsches, i8s, like just cash, I look at these kids and I’m like ‘Oh my god. They’re so stupid.'”

“They don’t understand that social media, this poppin’ time that they’re in, isn’t going to last forever, and right now, when you’re at the top, this is when you’re going to be making the most money. You just got to find a way to sustain it.”

For now, it will be interesting to see the reactions to this venture, and Hall’s new interest in finance has some wondering if it could change people’s perception of him. Hall earned himself a bad reputation for repeatedly throwing massive parties during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Still, some compare his success to that of YouTube Jake Paul, who is also recognized as a businessman and entrepreneur but has continued to embroil himself in controversies.

See what others are saying: (PEOPLE) (Tubefilter)

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Influencers Exposed for Posting Fake Private Jet Photos

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  • A viral tweet showed a studio set in Los Angeles, California that is staged to look like the inside of a private jet.
  • Some influencers were called out for using that very same studio to take social media photos and videos.
  • While some slammed them for faking their lifestyles online, others poked fun at the behavior and noted that this is something stars like Bow Wow have been caught doing before.
  • Others have even gone so far as to buy and pose with empty designer shopping bags to pretend they went on a massive spending spree.

A tweet went viral over the weekend exposing the secret behind some influencer travel photos.

“Nahhhhh I just found out LA ig girlies are using studio sets that look like private jets for their Instagram pics,” Twitter user @maisonmelissa wrote Thursday.

“It’s crazy that anything you’re looking at could be fake. The setting, the clothes, the body… idk it just kinda of shakes my reality a bit lol,” she continued in a tweet that quickly garnered over 100,000 likes.

The post included photos of a private jet setup that’s actually a studio in California, which you can rent for $64 an hour on the site Peerspace.

As the tweet picked up attention, many began calling out influencers who they noticed have posted photos or videos in that very same studio.

@the7angels

Come fly with the angels 👼

♬ Hugh Hefner – ppcocaine

Perhaps the most notable influencers to be called out were the Mian Twins, who eventually edited their Instagram captions to admit they were on a set.

While a ton of people were upset about this, others pointed out that it’s not exactly that new of an idea. Even Bow Wow was once famously called out in 2017 for posting a private plane photo on social media before being spotted on a commercial flight. 

Twitter users even noted other ridiculous things some people do for the gram, like buying out empty shopping bags to pretend they’ve gone on a shopping spree.

Meanwhile, others poked fun at the topic, like Lil Nas X, who is never one to miss out on a viral internet moment. He photoshopped himself into the fake private jet, sarcastically writing, “thankful for it all,” in his caption.

So ultimately, it seems like the moral of this story is: don’t believe everything you see on social media.

See what others are saying: (LADBible) (Dazed Digital) (Metro UK)

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South Korea’s Supreme Court Upholds Rape Case Sentences for Korean Stars Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon

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  • On Thursday morning, the Supreme Court in Seoul upheld the sentences of Jung Joon Young and Choi Jong Hoon for aggravated rape and related charges.
  • Jung will serve five years in prison, while Choi will go to prison for two-and-a-half.
  • Videos of Jung, Choi, and others raping women were found in group chats that stemmed from investigations into Seungri, of the k-pop group BigBang, as part of the Burning Sun Scandal.
  • The two stars tried to claim that some of the sex was consensual, but the courts ultimately found testimony from survivors trustworthy. Courts did, however, have trouble finding victims who were willing to come forward over fears of social stigma.

Burning Sun Scandal Fall Out

South Korea’s Supreme Court upheld the rape verdicts against stars Jung Joon-young and Choi Jong-hoon on Thursday after multiple appeals by the stars and their co-defendants.

Both Jung and Choi were involved in an ever-growing scandal involving the rapes and sexual assaults of multiple women. Those crimes were filmed and distributed to chatrooms without their consent.

The entire scandal came to light in March of 2019 when Seungri from the k-pop group BigBang was embroiled in what’s now known as the Burning Sun Scandal. As part of an investigation into the scandal, police found a chatroom that featured some stars engaging in what seemed to be non-consensual sex with various women. Police found that many of the message in the Kakaotalk chatroom (the major messaging app in South Korea) from between 2015 and 2016 were sent by Jung and Choi.

A Year of Court Proceedings

Jung, Choi, and five other defendants found themselves in court in November 2019 facing charges related to filming and distributing their acts without the consent of the victims, as well as aggravated rape charges. In South Korea, this means a rape involving two or more perpetrators.

The court found them all guilty of the rape charge. Jung was sentenced to six years behind bars, while Choi and the others were sentenced to five years. Jung was given a harsher sentence because he was also found guilty of filming and distributing the videos of their acts without the victim’s consent.

During proceedings, the court had trouble getting victims to tell their stories. Many feared being shamed or judged because of the incidents and didn’t want the possibility of that information going public. Compounding the court’s problems was the fact that other victims were hard to find.

To that end, the defendants argued that the sexual acts with some of the victims were consensual, albeit this didn’t leave out the possibility that there were still victims of their crimes. However, the court found that the testimony of survivors was trustworthy and contradicted the defendant’s claims.

Jung and Choi appealed the decision, which led to more court proceedings. In May 2020, the Seoul High Court upheld their convictions but reduced their sentences to five years for Jung and two and a half years for Choi.

Choi’s sentence was reduced because the court found that he had reached a settlement with a victim.

The decision was appealed a final time to the Supreme Court. This time they argued that most of the evidence against them, notably the Kakaotalk chatroom messages and videos, were illegally obtained by police.

On Thursday morning, the Supreme Court ultimately disagreed with Jung and Choi and said their revised sentences would stand.

Jung, Choi, and the other defendants will also still have to do 80 hours of sexual violence treatment courses and are banned from working with children for five years.

See What Others Are Saying: (ABC) (Yonhap News) (Soompi)

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