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Weekly Update - August 6, 2022: Back to School, Clubhouse Houses, Twitter Security Breach


Happy August! As a sure sign summer is nearly over, many US kids go back to school this week. Before you know it the leaves will be turning and it will be sweater weather.

This week there are updates for video creators, web publishers and social media users. Top updates: a small update to the YouTube video editor, social audio platform Clubhouse to get private “Houses”, Twitter security “flaw” exposed pseudonymous accounts and more.

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Meet + Duo

If you are a Google Meet user or Google Duo user, or both, you should see changes in the mobile apps. The Meet mobile app now has a green icon and is called Meet (original). Open up Duo and you will see a notice that it is getting new features and will become Meet. 

If you haven’t tried Duo, give it a try. It’s designed for video calling family and friends, and has nice features like the ability to leave video and audio recorded messages (and those features will not be going away).

Back to School

Google announced 18 EdTech tools (including games) that can be used as add-ons inside Google Classroom. This is available for Google Workspace Education and Teaching & Learning Upgrade users. Here is more information for teachers.

Mozilla has a back-to-school checklist for online safety.

YouTube and Video

New this week at YouTube: the trimming tool in the Video Editor is improved, YouTube Analytics shows subscriber changes from Posts, the video Copyright Details page (where you see copyright claims) has been redesigned, and you can get more analytics details on Shorts Remixes. Details from Creator Insider.

YouTube has updated their graphic content policy to require more context in videos showing animal abuse for the content to stay on the platform.

There’s a new Shorts Shelf on your YouTube subscription tab. That is meant to help viewers differentiate between longer-form content and Shorts.

Vimeo is showcasing its interactive tools in its new monthly Video Matters to highlight “must see” videos on the platform.

Meta Business Platform now has Vimeo integration for easy video creation that can be used for ads or shared to Instagram.

Facebook is shutting down its live shopping feature on October 1. You will still be able to live stream, but won’t be able to tag products. Facebook says they are going to focus on Reels, and Live Shopping is still available on Instagram.

Web Publishers and Search

The FLEDGE API is a proposal for serving ads in Google’s Privacy Sandbox. It allows remarketing and serving relevant ads in a way that does not allow third parties to track a user’s browsing behavior across different websites. AdSense will begin testing FLEDGE API integration on August 28. This will only include a small percentage of traffic and no ads will be rendered. It should not impact publisher revenue. You can also block FLEDGE, both as a website owner and as an individual user.

Google Search now supports “pros and cons” structured data on editorial product review pages or customer product reviews.

Back in October 2011, Google stopped using the “+” search operator. If you wanted Google Search results that had to include the words roses and jewelry, for example, you could no longer search for +roses +jewelry. Instead you had to put the words in quotes, like “roses” “jewelry” (you could and still can use the - to exclude words). Now Google is improving the results of quoted searches, by showing a snippet with the quoted word or phrase. That includes places where the text might not be readily visible, like menus. The linked article also includes some tips and caveats about how quoted searches work.

Social Media

Clubhouse - the social audio platform - is making big changes. They are launching private invite-only “Houses” where "members can meet up regularly, talk and hop from room to room". There will still be public rooms and House membership will be public. It’s not clear to me what the value would be over the myriad other private discussion and community platforms out there.

A security flaw at Twitter allowed people who submitted an email or phone number (presumably for account recovery or similar) to see the Twitter account that is associated with. This was an issue between June 2021 and January 2022, when it was fixed. This week Twitter revealed that they recently learned someone had used this flaw to compile account data, which they were selling. They will be contacting potentially affected users, and recommend everyone enable 2-factor authentication. They also recommend using a non-public email or phone number for your account, particularly if you Tweet under a pseudonym. And assuming you have 2-step verification enabled, switch to a physical security key or authenticator app instead of using your phone number. Good times.

Twitter has changed its Communities tab from a merged timeline of content from all your Communities, to a list of “My Communities”. While some people are fans of seeing all Community posts in a single stream, I think this makes it feel like a particular Twitter Community is its own space.

Instagram is expanding the ability to share digital collectables (NFTs) to 100 countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Middle East (but apparently not Europe). They support multiple digital wallets and cryptocurrencies. There is no fee to do this, and they claim that Meta’s purchase of renewable energy helps reduce the emissions impact of the NFTs displayed on Instagram.

Social Media Today reports Meta’s most recent Adversarial Threat report describes how they took action against a group of accounts for “brigading” (mass coordinated action against specific users) and mass reporting (using Meta’s reporting tools to try to get targets’ accounts incorrectly removed). They note that this may have “broader-reaching impacts” on user behavior.

LinkedIn is rolling out a Link Sticker that lets you add a clickable link to your image and video posts.

Comment search is now available in the iOS and Android Reddit app.

What I’m Reading

Nilay Patel interview of Hank Green @ The Verge: Why Hank Green can’t quit YouTube for TikTok. Green talks about being a creative entrepreneur, different revenue streams, running a business and more.

Cal Newport @ The New Yorker: TikTok and the fall of the Social Media Giants.

TikTok’s secret is its “scary good” recommendation algorithm. It doesn’t rely on social connections at all, and this has “allowed TikTok to circumvent the barriers to entry that so effectively protected early social-media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.” Christina Warren on Twitter noted that YouTube has the best of both, with both recommendations and social features.

That’s all the updates for this week. Subscribe to get the Weekly Update in your email inbox or favorite feed reader every week. Miss last week’s update? Get it here.

Image: Books by Lubos Houska. Pixabay License (free for commercial use).

 

Comments

  1. When I was a kid we didn't go back to school until after Labor Day.

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