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Weekly Update - March 24, 2018: Live Streaming, Policy Changes, Facebook Privacy

Spring has sprung! Live streaming is easier, content policies are tighter, and more.
  • YouTube launched a new easy way to start live streaming on your desktop computer with just your webcam. You don’t need encoder software or special hardware. It’s great for Chromebook users, or anyone else who wants to live stream with just a few clicks. However, it is very basic - no event scheduling, screen sharing, lower third overlays, extensions or apps. If you want more features, you’ll still have to use the Stream Now option with encoder software, or a Hangout on Air.
  • Up until now you could maintain two sets of channel subscriptions - one on “regular” YouTube, the other on YouTube Gaming. This week regular YouTube and YouTube Gaming subscriptions are being combined. If you notice new channels suddenly appearing in your subscription list, that could be the cause.
  • YouTube also announced new policy around content featuring firearms and firearm accessories. Starting in mid-April, YouTube will no longer allow videos with sale or manufacture of firearms or certain firearm accessories (like silencers, bump stocks, and high capacity magazines). If you have a channel that might be affected, be sure to review the new policy.
  • Speaking of policy, AdSense is posting a series of policy-related videos over the next few weeks. AdSense will be answering questions in each video's comment section the first few hours after it goes live, so be sure to subscribe.
  • Congress passed legislation this week amending “Section 230”, the law that protects online platforms from liability for some types of speech by its users. The new legislation aims to prevent online sex trafficking, and places liability on platforms (from giants like Google and Facebook to smaller sites) for their users’ activities. The Electronic Frontier Foundation thinks this change result in platforms choosing to err on the side of “censorship”, and advocates say it may actually put sex workers in danger. In response, Craigslist shut down all of its personals sections. It remains to be seen whether other sites tighten up their content policies in response.
  • If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you know that Facebook had a very bad week. The short version is that back in 2015, a psychology professor at the University of Cambridge created a “research app” that was downloaded by 270,000 facebook users. The permissions granted by those users not only gave the app access to their own personal data, but - because of the way Facebook worked at the time - their friends’ data as well. That ultimately included information from 50 million users. While Facebook was assured the data was for “research purposes” and would be anonymized, the data set was shared with data consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which used it to create US voter profiles. Cambridge Analytica, in turn, has claimed that their work was key in helping the Trump campaign win the 2016 US presidential election.

    Facebook has especially come under fire because it appears their policies at the time allowed data to be collected from users who had never opted into sharing information with the app. And insiders have noted that app developers that violated Facebook’s data collection policies suffered little or no repercussions. Even though Facebook has known about this particular violation by Cambridge Analytica since 2015, they didn’t suspend the company’s Page until last week, the day before an expose in The Observer went to press.

    Facebook says they are implementing changes to better protect user data, but for some people it’s too little to late. It’s been suggested that this is an opportunity for Google+ as an alternative, but I’m not sure many people would consider it unless their friends and family come along with them.

    If you are interested in all the gory details, be sure to check out the links below.
Plus there are tips and updates for Business owners, AdSense publishers, Google Plussers and much much more.
Image: 日本語: 雲井櫻 Kumoi-Zakura (Kumoi Cherry Trees) by Hiroshi Yoshida, 1920 (Public Domain)


YouTube and Video Creation

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  • Google My Business deleting dormant Google+ Pages (Mike Blumenthal)
  • Seriously, It’s Time to Ditch Facebook and Give Google+ a Try (Lauren Weinstein)
  • Is it time for a Google+ Resurgence? (Mike Elgan)
  • Facebook’s blunders may be an opportunity for Google+ (Paolo Amoroso)
  • How to share a private post on Google+ (Robert Wallis)
  • Tips for launching a successful Google+ Community (Google+)
  • Google+ celebrates the International Day of Happiness (Clarissa Silva)

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Updated March 2019 to remove Google+ links