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Creator Weekly: WordPress & Tumblr Privacy, YouTube Create, Facebook News

 Creator Weekly March 2, 2024

March is coming in like a lion, with strong wintery weather here in California. I’m looking forward to Spring!

This week there are updates for YouTubers, bloggers, social media and a lot more.

Top news and updates this week

  • The YouTube Create video editing app for Android is available in 14 more countries. Try it!
  • Opt out your or Tumblr blog from AI training.
  • Get the inside scoop on how the YouTube algorithm works.
  • UMG pulls more music from TikTok.
  • Substack is adding DMs
  • AdSense for Search reports will no longer break out subdomains
  • X will boost pinned posts
  • Instagram added more safety tools
  • Facebook expanded its Performance Bonus program, but is killing the News tab
  • You can bookmark Threads posts and managing posting from services with access to the new API (like Hootsuite and Sprout Social)
  • Bluesky added hashtags and word muting.
  • Google is having small news organizations test AI content creation
  • Add handwritten annotations to Google Docs on Android
  • Mosaic is the new “IMDB for everyone”
Read on for details and additional updates!

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To Do & Try

Opt out your or Tumblr blog from AI training

This week there were reports that Automattic, parent company to WordPress and Tumblr made a deal to share public data with an AI company. Disappointingly, Automattic has not done a good job in making clear what content is being shared and with whom.

404 Media has also reported that Automattic has been selling access to a “Firehose” of public content for years (primarily via third party company SocialGist), including Tumblr, and - notably - self-hosted WordPress sites that use the Jetpack plugin. The terms for that data access were updated in September 2023 to explicitly allow AI training. But this won’t be relevant for long, as Automattic is “in the process of winding down the [Firehose] service for all current customers.”

So what is happening now?
  • 404 Media reports that public Tumblr and data is being sold to AI companies Midjourney and OpenAI. Automattic has only disclosed that they are “working directly with select AI companies as long as their plans align with what our community cares about: attribution, opt-outs, and control.”
  • Sites hosted on can opt out of third-party sharing, which restricts your site from being used for AI training (at least by companies that allow opt-outs).
  • Sites hosted on Tumblr can also opt out of third-party sharing. Additionally the following types of content are not shared with third parties for AI training, research or other use: posts and reblogs of deleted blogs, password-protected blogs, explicit blogs, suspended or deactivated blogs; private posts; drafts; messages; subscriber-only posts; or explicit posts.
  • If your or Tumblr blog is set to not be visible to search engines, third-party sharing is already disabled.
  • Brandon Kraft, a Director of Product Engineering at Automattic clarified that self-hosted WordPress sites using the Jetpack plugin are not included in this deal. Automattic later clarified that sites not hosted on that use the WooCommerce and related plugins are also not included in this deal.

Automattic announcements: Protecting User Choice and Hi, Tumblr. It’s Tumblr. We’re working on some things...

While it’s good that there is an easy way for bloggers to opt out of third-party sharing, it seems distasteful that platforms sell user content for AI training as that doesn’t provide any benefit to the content creator. Search engines provide traffic back to the original content. Researchers can use content for analysis that can benefit the public good. AI models are trained on content and then are touted as a replacement for human creators.

Video Creator and Live Streaming Updates

If you are a YouTube creator, you need to watch this chat between Creator Liaison Rene Ritchie and Todd Beaupre, lead of the YouTube growth and discovery team. They answer common questions about the YouTube algorithm. Watch on the Creator Insider channel.

In its dispute with TikTok, Universal Music Group is removing more music from the platform. Now songs that had input from songwriters or artists signed to UMG are being muted. The BBC reports that includes songs by artists on other major labels, as well as independent artists. UMG wants TikTok to pay more, and TikTok isn’t budging. The fallout is that artists and creators who used UMG music are now muted.

Google is improving video playback in Drive.

Web Publishers and Search

Substack is moving towards being a social platform, rather than just a newsletter platform. The latest is Direct Messages (DMs). People you are not connected to (via subscription) can only send you a message request. You can add a “Send me a message” button to a post, limit DMs to paid subscribers or use them to build community and connections.

For Blogger bloggers: Product Expert Adam explains how to make a horizontal navigation menu using the Pages gadget.

Starting March 4, brands will be able to audit their ad placements on the Google Ads Google Search Partner (GSP) network. They will also be able to apply account-level placement exclusions when using Performance Max, Google's “AI-powered” ad product.

On March 13, AdSense for Search reports will no longer show separate reports for subdomains. So, for example, the ad on would be reported as For more detailed tracking you can use custom channels.

Social Media

Social Media Today reports that X will soon boost pinned posts, so that all of your followers will be shown that post. Only one post every 48 hours can be boosted that way. Andrew Hutchinson is skeptical this will work well: “If I had to guess, I would predict creator backlash about two weeks after this is rolled out, then X will roll it back.”

If you are monetizing your content on X there is a new monetization tab where you can see your estimated revenue.

Instagram is offering more safety tools, including warnings on potential scams and unsafe links, a new Security Checkup and privacy setting notices. If you can’t access your account, you can get support at (even if it wasn’t hijacked).

Facebook is updating its Performance Bonus program, to remove the earnings limit, earn from all formats (photos, text, videos, live, Reels), and expanding to more countries (while remaining invite-only). They are also continuing to move towards performance-based earnings on Reels, rather than ad revenue sharing.

Facebook is moving away from news. They will soon remove the dedicated News tab in the US and Australia. It was removed in the UK, France and Germany last year. Why? Facebook says “The number of people using Facebook News in Australia and the U.S. has dropped by over 80% last year.” And they “will not enter into new commercial deals for traditional news content in these countries and will not offer new Facebook products specifically for news publishers in the future.” Ryan Broderick points out that the news media’s reliance on social platforms was at least partially driven by those platforms offering expertise and deals.

You can now bookmark Threads posts. Yay! I use this feature a lot.

Threads is working on an API. It’s currently in Beta, and being tested by Grabyo, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Sprinklr and a few other sites. It should be widely available to developers by June. Why is this useful? You can now use Sprout Social or Hootsuite to schedule and manage posts on Threads.

The latest version of Bluesky is now available with hashtags (yay!), word muting, sharing from your mobile apps, updated desktop homepage and compose intent URLs (links that open Bluesky with the post composer open and the text pre-filled).

Why Bluesky? Marine biologist David Shiffman wrote about The Burgeoning Bluesky Science Community for American Scientist.

Bluesky’s new head of Trust and Safety, Aaron Rodericks, previously co-led the Trust and Safety team at Twitter. He lost his job there after Musk’s takeover, when the Election Integrity team was cut.

Mastodon for Android now lets you generate a QR code for easier profile sharing.

If you are on Post you can now react to posts with different emoji.

More AI Updates

Microsoft announced the Microsoft’s AI Access Principles: Our commitments to promote innovation and competition in the new AI economy

Adweek reports that Google is paying news organizations to test a new AI platform. It creates new articles from published data and articles from other news sources, with no requirement to label it as AI-generated. It’s meant to be reviewed by human editors before publication, but it is always based on already-published content. Not a great look.
“The beta tools let under-resourced publishers create aggregated content more efficiently by indexing recently published reports generated by other organizations, like government agencies and neighboring news outlets, and then summarizing and publishing them as a new article.”

Marques Browlee gave the Sora AI video generator a spin. You can see how it worked for him in this thread on X.

Communication and Collaboration

You can now add handwritten annotations to Google Docs documents on your Android device, using either a stylus or your finger.

Google Meet 1:1 calling (not to be confused with formerly-Duo Meet legacy calling) is expanding so that Google Workspace users can be called by people outside their organization. This is not available to personal accounts.

Microsoft Teams has a bunch of new features, including deeper integration of the Copilot AI and Chat, a new Meeting layout that puts participants at the bottom of the screen as you present, integrated apps (AI Assist by InFeedo, Bigtincan, Culture Amp, EY Catalyst Connect, Jira, Zoho), and support for Android Auto. There’s more at the link.

Microsoft Copilot for OneDrive will start rolling out at the end of April. It can answer questions about and summarize your documents, create outlines, tables and FAQs, and create a brief summary when you share a document.

If you are using StreamYard on Air to host a webinar, you can now pin On Air chat messages.

In Google Chat you will see the avatars of people who posted in your unread in-line threads.

Google Drive mobile app is getting new and improved search. Currently on iOS, and soon for Android.

If you are doing a Google Search in Chrome you’ll see suggestions based on what other people are looking for and images next to suggested searches.

More Reading

Mosaic is a new platform (in Beta) that calls itself “the IMDB for everyone”, but especially contract workers in the creative space. After creating a profile, you can add a “Block” for each project you have worked on, which is then authenticated by the client or company you worked for. It’s for photographers, videographers, songwriters, editors and other roles that don’t always get recognized. It looks interesting!

Matt Webb @ Interconnected writes Tech has graduated from the Star Trek era to the Douglas Adams age. “AI is the most Douglas Adams of all technologies.”

Join or Die is a documentary on the work of Robert Putnam, who popularized the idea of social capital. “A film about why you should join a club — and why the fate of America depends on it.” (via Kottke)

I love visualizations of the future. Open Culture shares How French Artists in 1899 Envisioned What Life Would Look Like in the Year 2000. Some of it isn’t too far off!

East Bay Times reports on librarian Mychal Threets, who went viral on TikTok, but who is resigning for mental health reasons (bullies on TikTok and X, sadly). Award-winning Bay Area librarian and TikTok star resigns. He’s continuing his work for literacy and libraries.

Thanks for reading!

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 February 24 edition here.

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


  1. Thanks for the shoutout, Peggy! The real question I think is why should this require a step-by-step at all? Blogger did a poor job with the UI, in my view.

    1. It definitely seems more complicated than it needs to be.

  2. I really think the science community should embrace Mastodon rather than Bluesky. It suits the ethos of free and open science. Each research institution should have their own instance, and barring that, there should be a communal instance for types of research. It would be a great way of networking with others in your field while keeping posts/knowledge open and FOSS. Even if Bluesky now allows Federation, I'd rather scientists rely on a proven and thriving fediverse rather than a pet project of another billionaire.

    1. I hear you on that. But Mastodon doesn't have as good discovery options as Bluesky (which has a nice option for curated Feeds you can follow). And then there's the network effects - people go to where people are. It's going to be interesting to see how Bluesky federation actually works, and whether that does allow for more indpendence from the platform.


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