TechCrunch: YouTube revamps its strike system to include a one-time warning, consistent penalties. “YouTube today announced a significant change to its strike system — the penalty system used when YouTube’s reviewers identify a video has violated the site’s Community Guidelines. These strikes could be issued against videos containing nudity or sexual content, violent or graphic content, harmful or dangerous content, hateful content, threats, spam, scams or misleading metadata. In the past, YouTube’s penalties have been criticized for being unevenly applied and for being less than transparent — something YouTube now wants to change.” This is a nice idea, but wasn’t it just in the past week that YouTube banned channels playing Pokemon Go because it was accidentally flagged as salacious content? Oh yeah, it was February 18.
New York Times: YouTube Unleashed a Conspiracy Theory Boom. Can It Be Contained?. “Last month, the YouTube star Shane Dawson uploaded his new project: a 104-minute documentary, ‘Conspiracy Theories With Shane Dawson.’ In the video, set to a spooky instrumental soundtrack, Mr. Dawson unspooled a series of far-fetched hypotheses. Among them: that iPhones secretly record their owners’ every utterance; that popular children’s TV shows contain subliminal messages urging children to commit suicide; that the recent string of deadly wildfires in California was set on purpose, either by homeowners looking to collect insurance money or by the military using a type of high-powered laser called a ‘directed energy weapon.'”
BBC: YouTube backtracks after Pokemon ‘child abuse’ ban. “Google has backtracked after ‘mistakenly’ deleting the accounts of several prominent YouTubers over incorrect child abuse fears. Popular YouTubers Mystic7, Trainer Tips and Marksman, who have more than 3.5 million subscribers between them, were among those who had their accounts deleted after posting videos of themselves playing Pokemon GO.” Wow, this is a Facebook-level content removal goof.
BBC: YouTube aids flat earth conspiracy theorists, research suggests. “YouTube is playing a significant role in convincing some people that the Earth is flat, research suggests. A study quizzed people at flat earth conferences and found most cited videos viewed on the site as a key influence. They were won over by videos which claimed to amass evidence proving the Earth was not a spherical planet.”
Boing Boing: YouTube’s algorithms demonitizes piano tutorial site for “Repetitious content”. “When you’re learning to play a musical instrument, you have to play the same songs and scales over and over again. YouTube’s algorithm doesn’t seem to know this, and so it demonetized a piano tutorial channel for ‘Repetitious content.'” Happily the channel was re-monetized after — anyone? anyone? Bueller? — public outcry.
Interesting Engineering: 11 Amazing Biology YouTube Channels That Will Have You Gripped. “When it comes to Biology YouTube channels, these 11 are some of the best of the best. They range from highly-entertaining enthusiasts to collators of some of the best science leaders lectures from around the world.” Nice use of embedded content.
The Verge: YouTube’s copyright strikes have become a tool for extortion. “An anonymous blackmailer has caught at least two YouTube creators in a scheme involving cash ransoms and esoteric copyright laws. Last week, both creators shared stories of how their channels were being threatened with a third copyright strike — and the possible termination of their channels — from an anonymous extortionist. The scammer offered to reverse the strikes in return for payment to a bitcoin wallet (which, as of this writing, remains empty) or to an adjoining Paypal account (that has since been deleted).”