Peggy K's Creator Weekly: YouTube policy update, Imgur Terms Change, Instagram Links
Happy Earth Day! This week there are updates for YouTubers, web publishers, Instagrammers, Redditors, and Twitterers. Plus updates on your favorite generative AI tools and more.
If you are interested in discussing how tech can help you use fewer consumables, water and fuel, improve your local environment or otherwise do better for the Earth, join OnEBoard Chat on Sunday. I’ll be hosting. Check my profile at 11AM Pacific time or watch the #OnEBoardChat hashtag.
Join me live on Sunday for a recap of this week’s top updates! I’m live at 10:30AM Pacific time (5:30 UTC). Set a reminder on YouTube here.
YouTube Policy Around Eating Disorders
YouTube has worked with experts to update their policy around eating disorder-related content.
Current policy prohibits content that promotes or glorifies eating disorders. In the updated policy, content depicting behavior that at-risk viewers may imitate is also prohibited. That includes behaviors like purging after eating or severely restricting calories and weight-based bullying in the context of eating disorders.
Educational content may be age restricted, especially if it details disordered behaviors.
Video watch pages may also show a crisis resource panel with resources and information from global mental health support organizations.
Viewers may still see ads promoting weight loss, although Google prohibits “unrealistic claims” in ads.
This is further than Instagram policy has gone (and that policy is apparently not well-enforced), and less restrictive than Pinterest, which went so far as to ban all weight loss ads to “prioritize the mental health and well-being of Pinners”.
YouTube Live Product Drops
YouTube’s Creator Insider gave a sneak peek at a new YouTube Shopping Feature: Product Drops. That lets creators launch a new product during a live stream.
It requires connecting your Shopify store (or your store in Google Merchant Center) to your YouTube channel, setting up the product (which requires review by Google), and then setting up your live stream. There are detailed instructions here.
To be eligible for Shopping monetization, your channel must be in the YouTube Partner Program. To promote products from other brands, your channel must additionally have 20,000 subscribers and meet other eligibility requirements.
This Week in Twitter Chaos
Here’s what happened this week on Twitter:
Twitter will start labeling tweets that have visibility limited. In the past, so-called shadow bans left users wondering if people could see what they posted (that’s the “shadow” part). Twitter says they are working on setting up a way for creators to appeal. For now, submitting feedback is the only option.
Last week, US media outlets NPR and PBS stopped posting to Twitter due to the labeling of their accounts as State-Affiliated Media. This week Canada’s CBC joined them (and Musk was a non-funny jerk about it). Now Twitter has removed all of its media labels, including for state-controlled media organizations like Russia’s RT. State run media accounts from countries that “limit access to free information” are also now more visible on the platform, as limits have been removed. It seems like a win for government-sponsored propaganda.
Creators in more countries can set up Subscriptions (previously called Super Follows). It is now available in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and maybe more countries.
Elon Musk Subscribed to YouTube star Mr. Beast, triggering “someone you follow subscribed” notifications to all of Musk’s 135 million subscribers. Many folks were confused, and it’s not clear whether the growth hacking stunt convinced many people to subscribe. It’s also something to be aware of that if you do choose to subscribe to someone on Twitter, all your followers will hear about it.
As promised, Twitter removed legacy verification checkmarks on April 20th. Now anyone paying for a Twitter Blue subscription gets the blue check, without any identity verification. Many celebrities and other popular accounts have been vocal about their decision not to subscribe, with some campaigning to “Block the Blue” (block anyone with the blue check). Musk himself paid for Stephen King, LeBron James and William Shatner to retain their checkmarks, after they were vocal about not subscribing. On the flip side, some Musk fans are pestering celebrities who didn’t subscribe and calling them “cheap” for not paying. It seems ugly all around. Overall, only about 5% of legacy verified accounts are paying for Twitter Blue. Maybe they should create a new “Twitter Pro” tier, with the extra features, but no blue tick.
In a surprise move, Twitter now requires advertisers to either subscribe to Twitter Blue ($8/month) or Verified Organizations ($1000/month). This change was made without any prior announcement (of course), and requiring advertisers to pay for a subscription in order to pay more for advertising is an interesting choice. Twitter’s announcement also makes it sound like it was previously not doing any verification of advertisers.
Microsoft Advertising is removing the option to post to Twitter. Advertisers can continue to post to Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Twitter is exhausting.
More Instagram Links
Instagram now lets you add up to 5 links to your bio. Previously Instagram only allowed one link, leading creators to use services like Linktree to be able to share a page with multiple links.
While this is good news for Instagram creators, Insta still does not allow clickable links in posts. That means accounts that share recipes or highlights from articles, for example, will still need a separate site to provide links.
Imgur ToS Update - backup your images!
Image sharing site Imgur will be removing all pornographic images and content posted by unregistered users on May 15. Under the new terms of service, they will remove:
“Old, unused and inactive content” not tied to a user account
Nudity, pornography, and sexually explicit content
While you might not care about the porn, before Reddit had native image hosting, Redditors uploaded their images to Imgur to share. No account was required to do that. Even today many Reddit posts use Imgur to host images.
And many forums and other sites also used Imgur for images in posts.
It’s another piece of the internet disappearing. If you uploaded images to Imgur that you want to save, now is the time to back them up.
YouTube and Video
Fun update: reply to a comment with a Short in the Android YouTube app. This is already available in the iOS app. Also new: select a Shorts thumbnail in the iOS YouTube app. Get all the details from Creator Insider.
Channel permissions update: Soon YouTube channel Editors, Editors (Limited) and Managers will be able to act as the channel in the YouTube mobile app. For example to upload Shorts or reply to comments. More information is promised by Creator Insider when this becomes available.
TikTok will now remove content with Climate Change misinformation.
The StreamYard live streaming platform now has an easy way to repurpose your content into TikToks, Shorts or Reels.
SnapChat is opening up monetization on their Spotlight vertical video format.
Google Search is offering guidance on how to consider page experience “holistically” as part of the content creation process. Sites with good page experience may be rewarded by Google’s search ranking algorithms. Soon the Page Experience Report in Google Search Console will show reference material, and link to Core Web Vitals and HTTPS reports in Search Console. The Mobile-Friendly Test Tool will also be retired. Google recommends using Lighthouse, which is built into Chrome’s developer tools.
WordPress.com now lets you turn on “Distraction free” mode, so you can write without the distraction of buttons and menus. Other updates include integration with Openverse to easily add free stock images, easily display post reading time, and access previous versions of your template.
You can now easily embed Mastodon posts in Medium stories. Medium is also adding features that are exclusively for subscribers, including their own Mastodon community, automatic audio of posts, read stories offline, connect a custom domain, read member-only stories, get early access to new features and more.
AI and Content Creation
Adobe is talking about integrating Firefly, its generative AI platform, into Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro in the “near future”. They are also exploring how to integrate Firefly as a “creative co-pilot” for video creation, including creating storyboards from scripts, generating subtitles and titles, generating music and sound effects, and easily changing color schemes and lighting.
The Washington Post lets you check to see if your website was used to train Google’s AI. My site peggyktc.com makes up a teeny tiny bit of that training content.
Google is merging their two AI teams - the Brain team from Google Research and DeepMind - into Google DeepMind to “accelerate their progress in AI.” Word is that the two groups do not get along, and that this is akin to a “forced marriage”. There are also apparently concerns among Google employees that it is rushing past quality and ethics issues. It sounds complicated, to say the least.
Google Bard can now officially help you code and explain code snippets. It also now offers more variations in drafts when it is writing content.
Google explained how they use AI to make the “Night Sight” processing faster in the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro camera.
SnapChat’s AI-powered chatbot, My AI, is getting new features, including bringing it into group conversations, customized Bitmoji, recommendations for places on the Snap Map and Lenses to use, and sharing Snaps with your AI.
SnapChat also announced new Lenses powered by generative AI.
Bing Chat will now provide better answers to questions about sports and news.
Google Meet now lets you turn off other meeting participants’ video feeds. Note that this does not turn off their cameras. It only prevents you from seeing the video. While this is only available on desktop, the Meet mobile lets you switch to “Audio Only”, which turns off all video feeds other than the tiles presenting content.
Google Meet has a new feature that allows meeting participants to co-present slides. Co-presenters can navigate through slides, start and stop media and see the audience and presentation controls in one window. This is available on desktop in Chrome in select Google Workspace editions (but not personal Google accounts).
David Pierce @ The Verge: Can ActivityPub save the internet?
Ellis Hamburger @ The Verge: Social Media is Doomed to Die. Hamburger worked at SnapChat for almost a decade. It’s in the same vein as Corey Doctrow’s thesis on how all platforms go through enshittification.
Mike Masnick @ Techdirt: Bluesky Plans Decentralized Composable Moderation. That is a mouthful, but read it - it sounds like an interesting possibility for people being able to find the moderation that they want.
Redbubble, a site where artists can sell their works (or their images on various items), has a new fee structure that adds significant fees to sales by small accounts. That makes it harder for artists just starting out (or with low sales volume) to earn from their work.
Header image background: Big Blue Marble photo of Earth taken by the crew of Apollo 17 on December 7, 1972. Image credit: NASA https://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/images/index.html