YouTube to spend $100M on original children’s content – gpgmail


Creators of child-directed content will be financially impacted by the changes required by the FTC settlement, YouTube admitted today. The settlement will end the use of children’s personal data for ad-targeting purposes, the FTC said. To address creators’ concerns over their businesses, YouTube also announced a $100 million fund to invest in original children’s content.

The fund, distributed over three years, will be dedicated to the creation of “thoughtful” original content for YouTube and YouTube Kids globally, the company says.

“We know these changes will have a significant business impact on family and kids creators who have been building both wonderful content and thriving businesses, so we’ve worked to give impacted creators four months to adjust before changes take effect on YouTube,” wrote YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki in a blog post. “We recognize this won’t be easy for some creators and are committed to working with them through this transition and providing resources to help them better understand these changes.”

YouTube plans to share more information about the fund and its plans in the weeks ahead.

In addition, YouTube said today it’s “rethinking” its overall approach the YouTube kids and family experience.

This could go towards fixing some of the other problems raised by the consumer advocacy groups who prompted the FTC investigation. The groups weren’t entirely pleased by the settlement, as they believed it was only scratching the surface of YouTube’s issue.

“It’s extremely disappointing that the FTC isn’t requiring more substantive changes or doing more to hold Google accountable for harming children through years of illegal data collection,” said Josh Golin, the Executive Director for the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), a group that spearheaded the push for an investigation. “A plethora of parental concerns about YouTube – from inappropriate content and recommendations to excessive screen time – can all be traced to Google’s business model of using data to maximize watch time and ad revenue,” he added.

Google already began to crack down on some of these concerns, independent of an FTC requirement, however.

To tackle the scourage of inappropriate content targeting minors, YouTube in August expanded its child safety policies to remove — instead of only restrict, as it did before — any “misleading family content, including videos that target younger minors and their families, those that contain sexual themes, violence, obscene, or other mature themes not suitable for younger audiences.”

Separately, YouTube aims to address the issues raised around promotional content in videos.

For example, a video with kids playing with toys could be an innocent home movie or it could involve a business agreement between the video creator and a brand to showcase the products in exchange for free merchandise or direct payment.

The latter should be labeled as advertising, as required by YouTube, but that’s often not the case. And even when ads are disclosed, it’s impossible for young children to know the difference between when they’re being entertained and when they’re being marketed to.

There are also increasing concerns over the lack of child labor laws when it comes to children performing in YouTube videos, which has prompted some parents to exploit their kids for views or even commit child abuse.

YouTube’s “rethinking” of its kids’ experience should also include whether or not it should continue to incentivize the creation of these “kid influencer” and YouTube family videos, where little girls and boys’ childhoods have become the source of parents’ incomes.

YouTube’s re-evaluation of the kids’ experience comes at a time when the FTC is also thinking of how to better police general audience platforms on the web, where some content is viewed by kids. The regulator is hosting an October workshop to discuss this issue, where it hopes to come up with ways to encourage others to develop kid-safe zones, too.


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Instagram may allow creators to syndicate IGTV videos to Facebook – gpgmail


Following the departure of Instagram’s founders, Facebook is working to more closely integrate the photo-sharing app with its flagship social network. It’s already added its brand name next to Instagram’s, and is working to make both platforms’ messaging products interoperable. Now, Facebook is prototyping a means of syndicating Instagram’s IGTV video to Facebook’s video site, Facebook Watch.

In another find from noted reverse engineer, Jane Manchun Wong, Instagram was found to have under development a feature that would allow Instagram users to post their IGTV content to both Instagram as a preview, as well as to Facebook and Watch — the latter by toggling an additional switch labeled “make visible on Facebook.”

Wong says the feature is still in the prototype stage, as the buttons themselves aren’t functional.

This move, should it come to pass, could prompt more video creators to use IGTV, given that it would boost their videos’ distribution by also including Facebook as a destination for their content. The videos could also be part of an ongoing, episodic series, Wong had found.

This, in turn, could help IGTV — an app which hasn’t quite taken off as a standalone video platform. Today, IGTV takes inspiration from TikTok and Snapchat’s vertical video. It’s meant to engage Instagram users with longer-form, portrait mode video content but within Instagram and in a separate IGTV app. But IGTV has often been filled with poorly cropped and imported web video, rather than content designed specifically for the platform.

Meanwhile, the IGTV app has struggled to rise to the top of the App Store’s charts the way its parent, Instagram has. Today, it’s ranked No. 159 in the Photo & Video category on the App Store, and unranked in the Overall top charts.

To address some of the issues that creators have complained about, Instagram this week rolled out a few changes to the upload experience. This included the new ability to select the 1:1 crop of an IGTV thumbnail for the creator’s Profile Cover as well as the ability to edit which 5:4 section of the IGTV video shows in the Feed.

IGTV will also now auto-populate Instagram handles and tags on IGTV titles and descriptions, and will now support the ability to longer video from mobile. With the latter change, IGTV has increased the minimum threshold to upload on mobile to one minute, and is allowing mobile uploads up to 15 minutes.

Instagram declined to comment on the possible syndication of IGTV content to Facebook and Facebook Watch.




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