Peggy K's Creator Weekly: Instagram Recommendations, Passkeys for security, AdSense Policy

May the fourth be with you! 

Learning to use a lightsaber

In “why I’m feeling ancient” news: I recently realized I’ve been using Blogger since May 2004. How can 20 years have passed so quickly? That was several blogs ago, although I’ve been toying with reviving my old personal blog. If only there were more hours in the day!

Do you use passcodes, rather than passwords on any of your accounts? Google and Microsoft and other big players want you to do that. 

Instagram is trying to make the platform better for small creators posting original content. 

And there are updates and tips for website owners, AdSense publishers, video creators  and much more.

Top news and updates this week

  • Google and Microsoft want you to use a passkey to sign in to your account. 

  • Instagram updated their recommendation algorithm to make it better for small creators, and will be promoting original content rather than aggregator accounts.

  • TikTok and Universal Music Group have come to an agreement, so UMG music is back on the platform. 

  • The US ban on TikTok could also ban CapCut (if the ban goes into effect)

  • Google Podcast users outside the US can move their podcasts to YouTube Music. 

  • AdSense updated its consent management policies to require inclusion of Swiss users with the rest of Europe, and updated the required wording of the revocation link. 

  • Google updated its publisher policies for AdSense, AdMob and Google Ad Manager, and Google Ads advertiser policy to prohibit promotion of the creation of deepfake porn. 

  • Google Search’s updated spam policies go into effect on May 5th.

  • Substack now lets accounts paywall their Chat. 

  • Tumblr is removing the Tipping option.

  • There are new features for Instagram, Bluesky, Threads and X.

  • Google Drive’s keyboard shortcuts are being changed to accommodate the new first-letters navigation. 

  • Google Meet lets you hide tiles with no video feed.

Read on for details and additional updates!

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To Do & Try

  • This week was World Password Day. To celebrate, run a security checkup on your Google Account (which also protects your YouTube account), Microsoft account, Apple account, Facebook account, and any other account that is important to you. Is your bank account secure? The accounts where you make online purchases? Secure them today. And consider setting a passkey (read on!)

Towards a passwordless future?

Big tech is banking on passkeys replacing passwords. Instead of entering a password, you just need to unlock the device with your passkey (like using your fingerprint to unlock your phone). A passkey acts as both the first- and second- factor for sign in, which is faster.

This week Google announced that 400 million Google Accounts have used passkeys to sign in. That’s only a fraction of Google’s 3(ish) billion users, and Google wants everyone to use passkeys. 

While passkeys are more secure than passwords, if you lose your passkey (for example, your phone), you could be locked out of your account permanently. I think that’s a real concern. 

But you can create multiple passkeys for your account. Passkeys can be created on your phone, your desktop computer, and now (new!) on a hardware security key.

Google is now confident enough in passkeys to start allowing high-risk users in its Advanced Protection Program to use them for enrollment, rather than using two hardware security keys.

And now there are an increasing number of sites that partner with Google to use passkeys for sign-in, including Amazon, 1Password, Dashlane, Shopify, Docusign, PayPal, Whatsapp, eBay and more. 

Meanwhile Microsoft announced passkey support for Microsoft consumer accounts

How do you set up a passkey? 

Instagram makes changes to help smaller original content creators

Instagram is making changes to its algorithms and recommendations systems to boost original content and smaller creators. 


The Reels recommendation system is shifting from ranking based on engagement from the account’s followers (which favors big accounts) to a new system with audience matching. First the Reel is shown to a small number of accounts that Instagram believes will like it. If the video does well, it’s shown to a larger audience. And then the same again. The goal is to show Reels to interested viewers, whether they are followers or not.

Instagram says this “gives all creators an equal chance of breaking through.”

Promoting Original Content

Instagram is making several changes that should help original content creators and demote aggregator accounts (accounts that repost content created by other people).

  • Original content will replace the reposted version in recommendations. They will only do this if the repost does not transform the original significantly.

  • Reposted content will get a label linking to the original creator.

  • Aggregators that repeatedly re-post content from other Instagram users will be removed from recommendations.

This sounds like a positive change, as long as Instagram does a good job in detecting the original content creator.

There are some situations where content is co-created or is made for a brand deal. In those cases, Instagram’s Collab option for Reels and Posts so that the content shows on both profiles.

Video Creator and Live Streaming Updates

YouTube Creators has a new Short that shows you how to use the Q&A sticker on a Short (but no, their Short does not use that sticker). It lets you ask your audience a question, and they can reply in the comments. 

YouTube’s Creator Insider channel has a discussion with popular legal live streamer Emily D. Baker and YouTube Director of Product Management for Fan Funding and Memberships, Bangaly about live streaming, building community and paid Memberships. Watch the video. 

TikTok and Universal Music Group have come to an agreement. UMG music will be restored to the platform, and the two companies will work together to remove unauthorized AI-generated music, promote artists, and work on “new monetization opportunities” using TikTok’s shopping platform.

The legislation that bans TikTok in the US, likely also applies to their popular CapCut video editing software. The Washington Post says A TikTok ban could also end short-form video as we've come to know it, because CapCut’s templates and tools are the standard.

StreamYard is now completely owned by Bending Spoons, and word is that the founders (Geige and Dan) have already left. Davide Simonetti of Bending Spoons posted his first StreamYard video, where he says they are working on StreamYard’s stability and ease of use. They haven’t responded to any of the comments, and I have a feeling that prices will soon be raised (as Bending Spoons has done with the other companies it acquired, like Filmic and Evernote).

Podcasting and Audio

Google Podcast users outside of the United States can now migrate their podcast subscriptions to YouTube Music. US listeners were able to do this starting last December. The migration tool will be available until July 29, 2024. US users can no longer use Google Podcasts, and it will become unavailable for everyone else on June 23.

Starting July 31, 2024, Google’s EU User Consent Policy will include Swiss users. If you want to serve AdSense ads to users in Switzerland, you need to be sure the Consent Management Platform (CMP) you are using requests Swiss users’ consent to use cookies or use their personal data to serve ads. If you use Google’s CMP with your website, it should be automatically updated. 

In another update to European user consent management, AdSense now requires that the Privacy & Messaging user message indicate that the revocation link - the option for the user to revoke their consent - should refer to “Privacy and cookie settings”, not just the “Privacy Policy” page. Learn more.

Google is updating its publisher policies for AdSense, AdMob and Google Ad Manager to prohibit the promotion of the creation or distribution of synthetic sexually explicit content. That would include generative AI tools used to generate nudes or modify images to be sexually explicit or tutorials on creating deepfake pornography. This is in addition to the current Google Publisher Policies and Publisher Restrictions around nudity and sexual content. Google is also updating its policy for Google Ads advertisers to prohibit advertising such tools and content.

 New Google Search spam policies go into effect on May 5. These prohibit expired domain abuse (buying old domains to publish low quality spammy content), scaled content abuse (publishing a large number of pages to manipulate search ranking), and site reputation abuse (publishing third party content to take advantage of the first party’s search ranking, like a coupon or affiliate product section of a news site). AdSense publishers are also required to make sure their sites comply with these policies.

Gisele Navarro at House Fresh, an air purifier review site, writes HouseFresh has virtually disappeared from Google Search results. Now what? There’s not a great solution when the search results are flooded with low quality “best of” sites that don’t actually review anything themselves. Will Google’s new spam policies help? They are hoping so.

Photos and Image Design on the Web

Adobe’s “Skip the Photoshoot” ad campaign for the generative AI tools in Photoshop is not appreciated by many photographers who use the software. As Jeremy Gray at PetaPixel put it “Adobe Throws Photographers Under the Bus Again”.

Lindsey Gamble reports that mobile photo-editing software maker VSCO has set up the  VSCO Hub platform to connect photographers with brands. Businesses can search using a reference image, to help find photographers with a similar style.

Social Media

I’m having a hard time knowing where to put the Substack updates. It’s a newsletter platform, but it’s introducing more and more social features. The latest is an option for newsletter owners to paywall their Chat. That, plus improved Chat search, better navigation and real-time messaging, is positioning Substack Chat as an alternative to platforms like Discord. And, of course, it makes it more difficult for people to switch from Substack to another platform.

Tumblr is shutting down Tipping. “Tipping hasn’t seen the usage we’d hoped for. So, in order to focus on the things that really make Tumblr Tumblr for most users, we’re shutting Tipping down on June 1.”

Instagram has added four new Stories stickers: Add Yours Music (viewers can and their own song to the Story page), Polaroid-like Frame (people can shake their phone to reveal the image), Reveal (the Story is blurred, people have to DM you to see it), and Cutouts (create a sticker by cutting out the main object or person in a photo on your device or on Instagram (including other people’s photos)).

Threads now lets you limit who can quote your posts. You can limit quote posting to people you follow or turn it off entirely for the post.

Jason Koebler @ 404 Media explains why  “Facebook is the zombie internet, where a mix of bots, humans, and accounts that were once humans but aren’t anymore interact to form a disastrous website where there is little social connection at all.”

You can now post GIFs on Bluesky. Right now, only selected GIFs from Tenor are available. If you hate them in your feed, you can disable autoplay in your account settings.

X is making blocking less useful. If someone blocks you, they can choose to see - and respond to - your posts on your profile. The way it works now is that the blocked account cannot see those responses. The change will allow the blocked account to see those replies. 

If you are an X Premium subscriber, you can now see “Stories” compiled by the Grok AI chatbot. These are news summaries, apparently based on what people are saying about the news, rather than the news articles themselves. A problem with that is that Grok isn’t actually intelligent, and it already mistakes joke posts and propaganda as real news.

The Creators account on X posted an Article (did you remember X now has “articles”?) about their commitment to creators. There’s not really anything new, other than the suggestion to “stay tuned” for more developments.

Communication and Collaboration

Google Drive is adding first-letters navigation. When viewing a list of files in Drive, you can start typing the file’s name (not in the search box!). This means that the current single-letter keyboard shortcuts will no longer work. Those are being migrated to multi-key shortcuts. You can opt in to the change now, but it will go live for everyone on August 1.

Google Meet is adding the option to hide tiles without a video feed. That makes it easier to focus on people in the meeting who have their camera turned on.

More Reading (and watching)

Mozilla’s Distilled blog interviewed Abbie Richards, misinformation researcher, EcoTok (TikTok-based collective on “climate solutions”). She notes that it doesn’t really help to try to teach people how to spot AI-generated images, because the issue is that when people want to believe it, they will, because of the emotional connection.

Maria Farrell and Robin Berjon write in Noema: We Need To Rewild The Internet. The message: “Ecologists know that diversity is resilience.”

The latest spam technique is to buy up blogs and sites with a good reputation and search ranking, and replace the content with ads and affiliate links. As an example, tech journalist Richard MacManus writes Why ClickOut Media, a Gambling PR Company, Bought ReadWrite 

Thanks for reading! 🌼