Category: YouTube

June 10, 2019 Off

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki addresses hate speech controversy

By Jill T Frey

YouTube chief executive officer Susan Wojcicki is standing by the company’s decision to allow conservative commentator Steven Crowder to remain on the platform. Her comments come one week after an investigation confirmed the right-wing pundit’s treatment of Vox host Carlos Maza was not in violation of its policies, despite Crowder’s consistent use of racist and homophobic slurs. Crowder has more than 3.8 million subscribers.  

“The challenge is when we get an allegation like this we take it very seriously,” Wojcicki told Recode’s Peter Kafka at the Code Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Monday. “We need to enforce those policies consistently because if we were not to enforce them consistently, there would be millions of other people saying what about this video, what about this video, what about this video? If you look at the content on the internet, you look at rap songs, late night talks, a lot of Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

YouTube will let bigot monetize if he removes link to homophobic merch

By Jill T Frey

YouTube has made the weakest, least courageous response to mass backlash regarding its ruling yesterday that right-wing personality Steven Crowder’s racist and homophobic attacks on Vox video producer Carlos Maza didn’t violate its policies. Now YouTube says it’s demonetized Crowder’s channel because his “pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community” …but it will restore Crowder’s ability to earn a cut of YouTube ad revenue as long as he removes the link in his videos/channel to his offensive merchandise shop and fixes “all of the issues” with his channel. Specifically, Crowder’s shop sells [Warning: disturbing language not condoned by TechCrunch] “Socialism is for f*gs” t-shirts, baby onesies and beer-pong cups.

[Update: In the wake of this article and YouTube’s focus on his homophobic slur shirts, Crowder has removed the hateful merchandise from his store.]

The unwillingness to remove Crowder from YouTube counters the frequent calls by conservative politicians … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

YouTube finds a stance on Nazi ideologues and Holocaust deniers

By Jill T Frey

As YouTube garners heat for failing to take action on purported hate speech, the company is trying to shift the narrative all while reminding the public that after 14 years it’s still writing the rough drafts of some of its core rules of engagement.

The company announced in a blog post today that it was expanding the scope of how it would tackle hate speech, now banning language “alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.”

This blanket ban will also sweep videos related to promoting Nazi ideology as well as content that denies that “well-documented violent events” like the Holocaust or Sandy Hook massacre occurred.

YouTube’s announcement follows a high-visibility show of its inaction after declaring that repeated incidents of harassment against a Vox writer by right-wing YouTuber … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

YouTube’s bully problems prove that community doesn’t scale

By Jill T Frey

Editor’s note: Drew is a geek who first worked at AOL when he was 16 years old and went on to become a senior writer at TechCrunch. He is now the VP of Communications for venture equity fund Scaleworks.

I have a confession to make. It’s something that I live with daily. It’s not that I’m not proud of it…it’s just that I’m never sure how people will see me after they know my “secret.”

Here goes nothing.

I.

Was.

A.

YouTuber.

Yes, there it is.

Whew, I feel so much better. Or do I? Actually, I don’t. Get ready for a whole lot of “In my day…” and “It wasn’t supposed to be like this,” because to quote Whoopie Goldberg in Ghost, “Molly, you in danger girl.

In the beginning

Just to set this up, I’m from Philly. Basically as far away from “Silicon Read the rest

June 2, 2019 Off

YouTuber gets 15 month prison sentence, $22,000 fine for toothpaste-filled Oreos

By Jill T Frey

YouTube star Kanghua Ren was just handed a 15 month prison sentence and 20,000 euro ($22,300) fine for a January 2017 video.

The video, which generated widespread outrage online, found Ren giving a homeless man in Barcelona repackaged Oreo cookies filled with toothpaste.

“Maybe I’ve gone a bit far, but look at the positive side: This will help him clean his teeth,” the China-born YouTuber (then 19) known as ReSet said in the video. “I think he hasn’t cleaned them since he became poor.”

The 52-year-old man vomited after ingesting the cookies, later telling a paper that he had, “never been treated so poorly while living on the street.”

Ren was given the sentence on Friday, though The New York Times notes that he’ll likely not actually serve any time, given how nonviolent crimes are generally treated in Spanish court. In addition, his YouTube channel and various social media … Read the rest

May 30, 2019 Off

Alibaba pumps $100 million into Vmate to grow its video app in India

By Jill T Frey

Chinese tech giant Alibaba is doubling down on India’s burgeoning video market, looking to fight back local rival ByteDance, Google and Disney to gain its foothold in the nation. The company said today that it is pumping $100 million into Vmate, a three-year-old social video app owned by subsidiary UC Web.

Vmate was launched as a video streaming and short-video-sharing app in 2016. But in the years since, it has added features such as video downloads and 3-dimensional face emojis to expand its use cases. It has amassed 30 million users globally, and will use the capital to scale its business in India, the company told TechCrunch. Alibaba Group did not respond to TechCrunch’s questions about its ownership of the app.

The move comes as Alibaba revives its attempts to take on the growing social video apps market, something on which it has missed out completely in China. Vmate could … Read the rest

May 13, 2019 Off

YouTube’s Bumper Machine offers an automated way to create six-second ads

By Jill T Frey

After introducing a six-second “Bumper” ad format back in 2016, YouTube is unveiling a new tool that uses machine learning to automatically pull out a six-second version from a longer ad.

It might seem a little ridiculous to try to compress (say) a 90-second video into a six-second message. In fact, Debbie Weinstein, Google’s vice president of YouTube and video global solutions, acknowledged that there was some skepticism when Bumper ads were first announced, with advertisers wondering, “Can we actually tell our story in six seconds?”

However, Weinstein argued, “We learned over time that creatives love constraints. They’ve historically been constrained to 30 seconds, and then 15 seconds, and constrained by whatever dimensions of a particular media format.”

For some advertisers, she said, a Bumper may simply be a short teaser for a longer ad. For others, the format could provide a way to break down a 30-second ad into … Read the rest

May 4, 2019 Off

Former YouTube star sentenced to ten years in prison for child porn

By Jill T Frey

Former Youtube star Austin Jones has been sentenced to ten years in a US federal prison after pleading guilty to persuading underage girls to send him explicit videos of themselves.

Jones, who made a name for himself online singing covers of songs, was arrested and charged in 2017 with two counts of producing child pornography.

He later pled guilty to one charge of receiving child pornography — admitting in a plea agreement that in 2016 and 2017 he enticed six girls to to produce and send explicit videos to “prove” they were his “biggest fan”, per Buzzfeed.

“Production and receipt of child pornography are extraordinarily serious offenses that threaten the safety of our children and communities,” it quotes assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Neff Welsh writing in a sentencing memo. “Jones’s actions took something from his victims and their families that they will never be able to get back.”

At … Read the rest

April 25, 2019 Off

The startup behind that deep-fake David Beckham video just raised $3M

By Jill T Frey

The recent global campaign showing Malaria survivors speaking through David Beckham to help raise awareness around the Malaria Must Die initiative spooked a lot of people:

The campaign has already exceeded 400 million impressions globally.

But a behind-the-scenes video explains how the video was made:

The campaign was a joint collaboration between RG/A, Ridley Scott Associates and the clever video startup Synthesia, for Malaria No More.

And it turns out, there’s a huge commercial imperative over this cool technology.

Video production today is highly unscaleable. It’s a physical process with many cameras, many studios and many actors. Once a marketing, product or entertainment video has been shot, it’s very difficult to quickly and affordably edit the creative or translate into different languages.

As co-founder Victor Riparbelli Rasmussen tells me: “We believe generating semi or fully artificial video is more efficient. This digital creation process is already the industry standard … Read the rest