Archive for the ‘YouTube’ Category

Social media sites struggle to contain video of New Zealand shooting

March 15th, 2019
The shooter had a collection of guns in his car before he entered the mosque.

Enlarge / The shooter had a collection of guns in his car before he entered the mosque.

A white nationalist who murdered an estimated 49 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday livestreamed a portion of his gruesome crime on Facebook, sending social media companies scrambling to contain the spread of the video.

Major social media platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, have terms of service prohibiting graphically violent videos. Officials worry that wide distribution of such videos boosts the profile of mass shooters and could inspire copycats. It can also be painful for victims' families.

"Our hearts are broken over today’s terrible tragedy in New Zealand," YouTube tweeted. "Please know we are working vigilantly to remove any violent footage."

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Posted in Christchurch shooting, Facebook, Policy, Reddit, YouTube | Comments (0)

Suicide instructions spliced into kids’ cartoons on YouTube and YouTube Kids

February 25th, 2019
A girl watches a video on youtube.

Enlarge / A girl watches a video on youtube. (credit: Getty |ALAIN JOCARD)

Tips for committing suicide are appearing in children’s cartoons on YouTube and the YouTube Kids app.

The sinister content was first flagged by doctors on the pediatrician-run parenting blog pedimom.com and later reported by the Washington Post. An anonymous “physician mother” initially spotted the content while watching cartoons with her son on YouTube Kids as a distraction while he had a nosebleed. Four minutes and forty-five seconds into a video, the cartoon cut away to a clip of a man walking onto the screen and simulating cutting his wrist. “Remember, kids, sideways for attention, longways for results,” he says and then walks off screen. The video then quickly flips back to the cartoon.

“I am disturbed, I am saddened, I am disgusted,” the physician wrote. “But I am also relieved that I was there to see this video with my own eyes, so that I could take the appropriate actions to protect my family.” Those actions included deleting the YouTube Kids app and forever banning it from the house.

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Posted in cartoons, CDC, science, self-harm, suicide, YouTube, YouTube Kids | Comments (0)

YouTube loses advertisers over “wormhole into pedophilia ring”

February 21st, 2019
YouTube loses advertisers over “wormhole into pedophilia ring”

Enlarge (credit: Aurich / Getty)

YouTube is losing advertising from Fortnite maker Epic Games, Disney, and other companies because of ads appearing alongside videos shared by pedophiles.

YouTube told Ars that it has taken action against users violating its policies this week, including by terminating more than 400 channels, deleting accounts, and disabling comments on tens of millions of videos. YouTube said it has also reported illegal content to authorities, but the company admitted it has more to do. We asked YouTube if it has identified any problems in its algorithms that helped cause the problem but received no answer to that question.

"All Nestle companies in the US have paused advertising on YouTube, a spokeswoman for the company said Wednesday in an email," Bloomberg reported yesterday. "Video game maker Epic Games Inc. and German packaged food giant Dr. August Oetker KG also said they had postponed YouTube spending after their ads were shown to play before the videos. Disney has also withheld its spending, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the decision hasn't been made public."

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Posted in Biz & IT, Policy, YouTube | Comments (0)

The Verge briefly censored YouTubers who mocked its bad PC building advice

February 19th, 2019
We think copyright's fair use doctrine allows us to show you this screenshot from The Verge's video.

Enlarge / We think copyright's fair use doctrine allows us to show you this screenshot from The Verge's video. (credit: The Verge)

Last week, The Verge got a reminder about the power of the Streisand effect after its lawyers issued copyright takedown requests for two YouTube videos that criticized—and heavily excerpted—a video by The Verge. Each takedown came with a copyright "strike." It was a big deal for the creators of the videos, because three "strikes" in a 90-day period are enough to get a YouTuber permanently banned from the platform.

The move sparked an online backlash, and The Verge quickly reversed itself and asked YouTube to reinstate the videos in question. But Verge editor Nilay Patel (who, full disclosure, was briefly a colleague of mine at The Verge's sister publication Vox.com) insists that the videos "crossed the line" into copyright infringement.

It's hard to be sure if this is true since there are very few precedents in this area of the law. But the one legal precedent I was able to find suggests the opposite: that this kind of video is solidly within the bounds of copyright's fair use doctrine.

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Posted in fair use, Policy, Reaction videos, the verge, YouTube | Comments (0)

YouTube is trying to prevent angry mobs from abusing “dislike” button

February 4th, 2019
YouTube is trying to prevent angry mobs from abusing “dislike” button

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

YouTube's dislike button can be a source of anxiety for many creators, and now YouTube is considering a number of options to prevent viewers from abusing that tool. Tom Leung, director of project management at YouTube, posted an update to the Creator Insider channel recently in which he detailed some "lightly discussed" options for combatting "dislike mobs," or large groups of users who slam the dislike button on a video before watching the whole thing, or even watching the video at all.

While none of the options Leung details may ever become permanent, YouTube is thinking about experimentation. Currently, like and dislike ratings are shown by default—that's why anyone can see the number of likes and dislikes a video has by checking out the numbers next to the thumbs-up and thumbs-down icons beneath the video player. However, users can change their settings to make ratings invisible.

One of the new options YouTube has talked about is making those ratings invisible by default, so you wouldn't be able to see the number of likes or dislikes a video has. Other options include asking users to provide more information about why they disliked a video (possibly in the form of a checklist), removing the dislike count across the board, and removing the dislike button entirely.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, online video, streaming video, Tech, YouTube, youtube creators | Comments (0)

YouTube updates policies to explicitly ban dangerous pranks, challenges

January 16th, 2019
The YouTube play-button logo duplicated numerous times on a white background.

Enlarge (credit: NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Pranks and challenges have always been popular on YouTube, but now the Google-owned company has set stricter guidelines for such content. A new YouTube support page details the company's updated policy surrounding "harmful and dangerous" content to explicitly ban pranks and challenges that cause immediate or lasting physical or emotional harm.

"YouTube is home to many beloved viral challenges and pranks, like Jimmy Kimmel’s Terrible Christmas Presents prank or the water bottle flip challenge," the FAQ post says. "That said, we’ve always had policies to make sure what’s funny doesn’t cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous."

The updated policies page now highlights three specific types of videos that are prohibited:

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Posted in community guidelines, Gaming & Culture, google, Netflix, pranks, Tech, video streaming, YouTube | Comments (0)

Massive scale of Russian election trolling revealed in draft Senate report

December 17th, 2018
A report commissioned by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, based on data provided to the committee by social media platforms, provides a look at just how large and ambitious the Internet Research Agency's campaign to shape the US Presidential election was.

Enlarge / A report commissioned by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, based on data provided to the committee by social media platforms, provides a look at just how large and ambitious the Internet Research Agency's campaign to shape the US Presidential election was. (credit: Chesnot/Getty Images)

A report prepared for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) due to be released later this week concludes that the activities of Russia's Internet Research Agency (IRA) leading up to and following the 2016 US presidential election were crafted to specifically help the Republican Party and Donald Trump. The activities encouraged those most likely to support Trump to get out to vote while actively trying to spread confusion and discourage voting among those most likely to oppose him. The report, based on research by Oxford University's Computational Propaganda Project and Graphika Inc., warns that social media platforms have become a "computational tool for social control, manipulated by canny political consultants, and available to politicians in democracies and dictatorships alike."

In an executive summary to the Oxford-Graphika report, the authors—Philip N. Howard, Bharath Ganesh, and Dimitra Liotsiou of the University of Oxford, Graphika CEO John Kelly, and Graphika Research and Analysis Director Camille François—noted that, from 2013 to 2018, "the IRA's Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter campaigns reached tens of millions of users in the United States... Over 30 million users, between 2015 and 2017, shared the IRA's Facebook and Instagram posts with their friends and family, liking, reacting to, and commenting on them along the way."

While the IRA's activity focusing on the US began on Twitter in 2013, as Ars previously reported, the company had used Twitter since 2009 to shape domestic Russian opinion. "Our analysis confirms that the early focus of the IRA's Twitter activity was the Russian public, targeted with messages in Russian from fake Russian users," the report's authors stated. "These misinformation activities began in 2009 and continued until Twitter began closing IRA accounts in 2017."

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Posted in Biz & IT, Facebook, google, internet research agency, Policy, Russian election interference, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Twitter, YouTube | Comments (0)

Chromecasts are finally available from Amazon again

December 13th, 2018
Chromecasts are finally available from Amazon again

Enlarge (credit: Jeff Dunn)

Amazon and Google haven't played nicely with each other over the past few years, but consumers were thrown just thrown a bone. Amazon has finally restocked Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra devices in its online store, selling them for $35 and $69 respectively.

Back in 2015, Amazon pulled Chromecast devices from its store after it dictated that it would only sell streaming devices that support its own Prime Video service. Since the Chromecast did not, Amazon claimed it would cause "customer confusion" to offer it for purchase.

The same strange rule applied to the Apple TV, which Amazon didn't sell for some time as well. But Amazon released its Prime Video app for Apple TV this time last year, and Apple's set-top box reappeared on Amazon quickly after that.

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Posted in amazon, chromecast, chromecast ultra, echo, google, online shopping, Tech, YouTube | Comments (0)

YouTube tells impersonation victim: No, you’re not being impersonated

December 6th, 2018
Cartoon of impersonator in front of YouTube logo.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

How long does it take someone to have a YouTube impersonation claim reviewed, confirmed, and enforced? That kind of data is hard to piece together across such a giant video-sharing platform. But in the case of one user, Penguin Books author Celeste Ng, the process took a little over one full day—and required a big pile of public shaming in the process.

Ng's ordeal began when she discovered someone had created an account with her first and last name that primarily posted racially and culturally insensitive videos—including apparent dog-whistling mentions of mixed-race marriages. This appeared to be a targeted impersonation attempt, as Ng has previously been targeted by online communities for marrying a non-Asian man.

She took to Twitter to ask her followers how to report impersonation claims on YouTube. After filing a Wednesday impersonation report, which included proof of identify (her published book's jacket sleeve, complete with author photo) and screenshots of the offending, fake YouTube account, Ng received a Thursday response from YouTube: her report did "not meet our impersonation reporting guidelines." A quick scan of YouTube's reporting page includes a request for "a clear, readable copy of your valid driver's license, national ID card, or other photo ID" as an attached image. Ng's posts did not confirm whether her book's jacket photo was YouTube's point of contention.

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Posted in impersonation, Policy, YouTube | Comments (0)

Nintendo ends controversial YouTube revenue-sharing program

November 29th, 2018
Uh, Mario, that thing you're so proudly presenting doesn't exist anymore, dude.

Enlarge / Uh, Mario, that thing you're so proudly presenting doesn't exist anymore, dude.

For nearly three years now, creators who wanted to make money from videos that included footage of Nintendo games had to go through the onerous approval and content requirements of the Nintendo Creators Program, which also gave Nintendo a 30 percent cut of any ad revenues. Today, Nintendo announced it would be halting that program at the end of the year, in favor of a new set of "basic rules" for video creators. If those rules are followed, Nintendo now says, "we will not object to your use of gameplay footage and/or screenshots captured from games for which Nintendo owns the copyright."

The guidelines, as written, encourage creators to use Nintendo content in videos with "that include your creative input and commentary." Direct, unedited videos of Nintendo game footage without such additional content "are not permitted," Nintendo says, unless they are shared through "system features, such as the Capture Button on Nintendo Switch."

That's a requirement that could impact the popular genre of YouTube longplays, which capture hours of direct gameplay footage for countless games.

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Posted in Gaming & Culture, Nintendo, online content, video, YouTube | Comments (0)