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News And Views

News & Views

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  • 20 March 2019
  • Ben Taylor

The Month in Social

It was a seriously tough month for YouTube. The video giant faced huge scrutiny in February after a Reddit thread exposed the ongoing problem of unregulated comments sections on YouTube. It was revealed that simple searches on the platform can lead users down a “wormhole into a soft-core paedophilia ring” with comments sections full of predator’s time-stamping moments within videos that sexualise children. This is obviously very dark stuff, and what’s facilitating it is YouTube’s recommendation algorithm – the one that suggests what to watch next at the end of the video you’re watching. It appears you can jump from an innocent fashion video to something far more sinister in as little as 2-3 steps.

YouTube’s response has been to disable comments on any questionable video – a band-aid-on-a-bullet-wound solution. Unfortunately, the whole issue has been compounded by the appearance of the ‘Momo’ meme, a dramatic hoax that has highlighted the issue with YouTube Kids – a platform where ordinary kids cartoons blend with warped, violent versions wholly unsuitable for any child. Clearly, parents are already willing to ditch the platform altogether.

But more alarmingly for YouTube, advertisers are now pulling out. There’s no shortage of options for social advertising right now, so it’s not surprising that revelations like these would prompt a shift in spend elsewhere. The important question is: is this a temporary crisis or could YouTube be in serious trouble income-wise, in the long-term?

WhatsApp turns 10
Everybody’s favourite messaging app celebrated its 10th birthday with a look back at some of its best bits. These milestones included the day that one billion messages were sent on the app within a 24-hour period (group chats, assemble), reaching one billion daily users, and launching WhatsApp business.

TikTok hits one billion downloads
Vine-like mobile video creation app TikTok has hit one billion downloads globally via the iTunes app Store and Google Play. This follows last year’s success where it was downloaded 663 million times (outperforming Instagram at 444 million), along with boasting 71.3 million new users in January 2019.

Despite its success so far, Tik Tok’s rapid growth has led them into a few issues. The platform has had cautions from the NSPCC, and a $5.7m fine after it was found to have illegally gathered the personal data of children aged 13 and under through its recent acquisition of Musical.ly. However, the company has been trying to address these safety concerns, and recently launched a series of video tutorials to help inform users about online safety.

Facebook announces next steps for Stories and Watch

The social media giant has announced that its event and Stories features will be brought closer together with a “share to your story” option on Facebook event pages. The update also gives users an option to add a sticker which lets friends see the event details without having to leave the Story.

Facebook have also announced their next steps for Facebook Watch – which includes dozens of new shows, and a new ad system called Facebook Showcase. These updates come despite Facebook’s recent statement that said it would only renew around a third of news shows on Watch – watch this space to see if the feature gains any more traction in coming months.