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Creator Weekly: Threads in Europe, YouTube Membership Gifting, Instagram Live

I keep thinking that this must the week that the tech folk will finally go on holiday, but once again there are a ton of updates this week for YouTubers and other video creators, live streamers, bloggers and more.

Top news and updates this week

  • Meta’s Threads launched in the EU and started testing ActivityPub integration.
  • YouTube Partners can now gift 10 Memberships per month, free of charge (but not yet available to channels on a Brand Account).
  • YouTube Partners can give Members early access, before a video goes public.
  • Twitch is retiring Squad Streams in favor of Stream Together, which is available in beta (to everyone!)
  • Twitch simplified their policies around sexually themed content, allowing some content as long as it has a Sexual Themes Label.
  • The Twitch Homepage will no longer recommend labeled as Drugs, Intoxication, or Excessive Tobacco Use; Violent and Graphic Depictions; Gambling; and/or Sexual Themes.
  • Instagram Live Producer is now available to all professional accounts, allowing you to go live from third party platforms.
  • Google Groups will stop supporting posting to Usenet in February.
  • Education accounts can add interactive questions to an embedded YouTube video in Google Classroom.
  • WordPress gave the “State of the Word”, looking back on 2023 and forward to 2024.
  • Chrome will soon start testing Tracking Protection, blocking 3rd party cookies by default.
  • Celebrate 25 years of Google Search by finding the embodiment of search trends in a Where’s Waldo-like game.
  • Soon your Google Maps Timeline will be saved on your device, inaccessible to Google.
Read on for details and additional updates!

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Take this week’s quiz ✅

What do you know about YouTube’s new “pause comments” option? Take the quiz.
Bonus poll: Have you tried AI tools? Vote in the poll on YouTube or view the poll on X.

New Tips and Tutorials

You can easily create a custom calendar to share on social media or your website using the (free!) Adobe Express. Learn how from OnEBoard’s Bob Danley.

2023 Recaps

Google celebrated 25 years of Search with a special recap video and game. Check out this year’s global and local Search trends, and then find your Search Time Capsule and find top searches in the Where’s Waldo-like Search Playground. Note that the game does not seem to save your results 🙁

If you are on Flickr submit Your Best Shot 2023 entry by January 4.

Social Media Today reports Snapchat Announced Annual ‘Recap’ Activation, Shares Top In-App Trends From 2023

Apple announced the top apps and games from 2023.

Meta’s Threads launched in the EU and tests Fediverse integration

Meta launched Instagram-linked Threads ( ) back in July. It’s steadily adding features, and it’s looking to me like it could end up being an actual Twitter replacement.

But something huge was missing: no users from the European Union! This apparently was due to legal and regulatory concerns. But now, EU users can join threads using their Instagram account sign-in. I’ve been playing with it a bit here.

Also this week Threads started testing ActivityPub integration. The idea is that you could have a Mastodon account (or other Fediverse account), follow someone who is on Threads, and comment on their posts, all without having a Threads account yourself. And, of course, vice versa.

Currently it’s only possible to follow a few test Threads accounts on Mastodon, including Instagram and Threads head Adam Mosseri.

And it turns out there are a bunch of Mastodon servers that have decided to preemptively block Threads, in part because of a lack of trust in Meta. That includes the server, which is where I have my account. I’m hoping that they change that eventually. Here’s a list that shows which Mastodon servers block Threads.

What Threads is still working on:
  • If someone comments on a Threads post from the Fediverse, the comment should show on the Threads post.
  • Allow Threads users to follow Fediverse accounts.
  • The ability to leave Threads and take your followers with you.
  • They are deciding whether people will be able to opt out.
Mosseri says this will likely take “the better part of a year” to do. Mastodon creator Eugen Rochko seems positive about the development.

One of the main reasons I’m still on X/Twitter is that I follow a bunch of companies and organizations that make announcements there. Hopefully some of that will shift to Threads or Mastodon or somewhere else in the next year.

Google Maps Timeline will be stored on your device

Google doesn’t want to know where you’ve been.

If you have Location History turned on for your device, you can get a Timeline of the places you visited each day in Google Maps. Soon your Timeline will be stored on your device, rather than in your Google Account. You can make an end-to-end encrypted backup to the cloud if you want to transfer the data to a new device (or don’t want to lose the information). Google won’t be able to decipher it.

It will also be easier to delete Maps activity and manage your settings.

For new accounts the default will be for Location History to automatically delete after 3 months.

These changes mean that your Location History will not be synchronized across multiple devices.

Why the change? Google says it is to give you more control over your data, which it will do. It also means that Google will no longer be able to respond to requests from law enforcement for individuals’ location information (which they do now).

Video Creator Updates

YouTube wants you to join in the #HolidaysWithShorts celebration with recommended songs and hashtags.

YouTube partners can now gift 10 channel Memberships (two bundles of 5) every month, free of charge. The gifted memberships give access to Member perks for one month. Note that this is not currently available to channels on a Brand Account (boo!). Not sure if your channel is on a Brand Account? Go to and see what it says next to “Move Channel”: If it says “Move channel to your Google Account or another brand account” or “You are not signed in as the primary owner”, your channel is on a Brand Account.

YouTube partners offering Memberships can also set new upload visibility to “From members only to public” to give their members early access to new content before it goes public.

Some Google Workspace for Education editions will soon have the option to create interactive questions linked to an embedded YouTube video in Google Classroom.

Twitch is retiring Squad Streams on January 17, which let up to 4 streamers go live together. It apparently never gained much traction. Instead Twitch is focusing on Stream Together (formerly called Guest Star), which is currently in beta. There are instructions for getting started with Stream Together (and how to use it for gaming collabs), which is available to all Twitch users.

Twitch is also offering end-of-the-year subscription discounts and a new Bits bonus.

Twitch updated their policies around nudity and sexual content. Some content that was previously prohibited, is now allowed with a correct Sexual Themes Content Classification Label, including highlighted or drawn breasts, genitals or buttocks; body writing and art on female-presenting-breasts or anyones buttocks; and erotic dances (like a striptease). Dances like twerking, grinding are now allowed without a label, as long as they are not streamed from an adult establishment, like a strip club. (YouTube similarly relaxed policies around what they describe as “non-sexually graphic dancing involving rhythmic body movements”). The new policy briefly allowed “artistic nudity”, but that was changed amongst concerns that would mean images like AI-generated nude deepfakes would be allowed.

Twitch will no longer include content with the Drugs, Intoxication, or Excessive Tobacco Use; Violent and Graphic Depictions; Gambling; and/or Sexual Themes labels on the homepage recommendations shelves.

Now all professional Instagram accounts have access to Instagram Live Producer. This allows you to use a stream key to go live using OBS, Streamlabs, Streamyard or similar platform. Instagram Live Producer launched with limited access in November 2022. You can switch from a personal account to a business account in your Instagram settings.

StreamYard now lets pro users download recording transcripts.

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max can now record spatial video. The 3D videos are viewable on the new Apple Vision Pro mixed-reality headset. The video can be reviewed in 2D on other devices.


Creators should be aware that scammers are sending fake invites to appear on a podcast, with the result that the creator’s Facebook Page is hijacked. Rob Landes reports how it happened to him.

Intel’s MailChimp is a frequent podcast sponsor. They reportedly demanded that a podcast in development only use non-union labor to get their sponsorship money (which was rejected).

Web Publishers and Search

Google Chrome will start testing Tracking Protection in January. This limits a website’s access to third party cookies and cross-site tracking by default. Firefox and Safari already block cross-site tracking by default. What that means for web publishers is that more visitors will block third party cookies, which may affect visitor ability to use buttons or even comment on your site if those require a cookie to detect a third-party account they are signed into. And, of course, it will prevent some tracking of user details.

WordPress announced the “State of the Word”, looking back at 2023 and forward to 2024. Features they are working on include collaborative tools, a focus on Data Liberation (moving to and from other platforms like Blogger), and AI tools.

Solo is an “AI webbuilder for solopreneurs” from Mozilla. You can try it at .

Social Media

Google announced that Groups will no longer support Usenet posting, as of February 22, 2024. They will also shut down their Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) server, and so will no longer retrieve new posts. Historical posts will remain available. Why the change? There is low legitimate use, tons of spam, and much of the use is for file-sharing, which Groups does not support. Google Groups launched in 2001 with the Usenet archive from the (defunct) Deja News. Over the years it’s been neglected as Google shifted the focus of Groups to business, including managing email lists and access to Google Workspace files. Anyone wanting to continue using Usenet will have to find a new Usenet client.

The Verge has a new subsite with articles looking back at “the year Twitter died”. Toggle up the “Chaos” setting at bottom left if you can stand it. Or just scroll all the way down to the articles. I thought the article about Twitter and the news is especially interesting.

Instagram is making it easier for creators to bulk remove spam and bot follower requests. Those will now be reviewable under a new “Potential Spam” tab. They are also adding an option to bulk remove spammy tag requests. Along with those updates, Instagram is “increasing the strength of our ability to detect and hide spammy comments”.

X will let Space hosts enable Incognito joins, which allow people to listen to the conversation in a Space without revealing they are present.

Snapchat+ subscribers can use new generative AI tools to create Snaps.

Do you remember MeWe? It made a big push for users to migrate from Google+ as that service shut down. Apparently there were two big changes this year. The first is that the content is now visible to non-signed-in accounts. The second is that they are really pushing to become a “decentralized Web3” platform on the blockchain. That new version is still small -- at the last announced update in November there were only 170k users on the Web3 version. Maybe I should sign in to my account there and see what’s happening, although I don’t understand the appeal of using a blockchain (doesn’t that mean your posts can never be deleted?).

More AI Updates

Google is making their Gemini Pro model and Duet AI available to developers, in addition to updates to the Imagen 2 text to image model and MedLM healthcare AI model in Vertex AI.

Communication and Collaboration

Google Workspace business accounts can add a recording speaking their name to their Google profile to share the pronunciation. This is not available for education accounts or personal Google accounts.

Google is making it easier to insert content from the @ menu in Google Docs. Note that as of this writing the rollout of this feature is paused for evaluation.

If you or your organization use Bitbucket you can now integrate that with Google Chat.

More Reading

Works created in 1928 in the US go into the public domain on January 1st, including the original Mickey Mouse movie “Steamboat Willie”. Can you use Mickey now? Read Duke Law’s Mickey, Disney, and the Public Domain: a 95-year Love Triangle.

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 the December 9 edition here..

Image via Canva. Free for commercial use, no attribution required.


  1. "...I don’t understand the appeal of using a blockchain (doesn’t that mean your posts can never be deleted?)."
    I don't know. Keep us informed if you go back to MeWe. Does it use Web 3? I know very little about Web 3 which is supposed to be the future of the web.

    1. From my reading, it sounds like they are slowing migrating people to the "Web 3" version, and it's supposed to be seamless (so people don't notice). That suggests there should be a technical advantage, but I'm not clear on what that is.


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