YouTube Privacy, Facebook Dating – Spotlight 308

Good Monday morning. It’s September 9th. Apple has a product rollout tomorrow at 1 p.m. Analysts expect the iPhone 11 announcement plus other product news.

Fun fact: Apple has $210 billion in cash, a hoard that would allow the company to buy Netflix or PayPal outright and still have about half. Or it could spin off a holding company that would be the 28th largest U.S. company by market cap. 

Today’s Spotlight takes about 3 minutes to read.

2. News To Know Now

1.  YouTube owner Alphabet agreed to pay a $170 million fine to the FTC and New York state after regulators faulted YouTube privacy and data collection practices for children under the age of 13. YouTube privacy rules required users to be 13 or older, but regulators showed that the company knew the service was used by nearly all “tweens” who are 10-12 years old.

2.  Back in December we told you about then 7-year-old Ryan Kaji, whose YouTube videos as “Ryan ToyReviews” generated tens of millions of dollars in revenue. The channel added more than four million subscribers since and is now the subject of a Truth in Advertising ( complaint with the FTC alleging that the videos do not provide clear disclosure of compensation. 

3. YouTube reported this week that it’s making great progress on its 4Rs: 

  • removing harmful content
  •  raising authoritative voices for breaking news
  • rewarding creators and artists
  • reducing inappropriate content.

Since last year, YouTube has removed more than 100,000 videos, canceled 17,000 channels, and removed more than 500 million comments. Governments and propagandists aren’t the only ones spreading false information. So is someone at the office, three people you see on your commute, and that fifth grade buddy you had to go find on Facebook. 

4. Android 10 was released. Following 8 (Oreo) and 9 (Pie), there should be a cute version name beginning with the letter Q, but Google apparently didn’t want quince or (my choice) queso. Instead they’re choosing boring old Android 10. While you stick to your own preferred sweets, here is when manufacturers are rolling out Android 10 to their phones.

3.  Facebook Dating is Live & Other Social News

“Not everyone on Facebook is interested in dating,” writes the company in its announcement of its dating app-within-an-app starting up in the U.S.

You know that’s not true, and not just because the word “Facebook’ appeared in one-third of divorce filings in one study. Savvy parents watch over their children’s social media, but parents oftentimes need chaperones. 

Facebook’s dating app is mobile only and anyone who claims their age is 18 or older can create a profile in minutes. When I tested the service (honest, sweetheart, it was for the newsletter), my profile was created from my Facebook profile in seconds. Had I gone ahead with my first name, job, town, and employment history, I could’ve been trolling for dates in seconds. 

No one knows yet whether this will stop unsolicited pictures of people’s genitals from appearing in your messages but that seems doubtful. Also doubtful is that anyone looking up old flames will simply choose to use the dating app. But Facebook Dating has rolled out to more than one dozen countries in its first year so this is part of our world.

Much more promising for humanity is Facebook’s test to hide the number of likes a post receives. Researcher Jane Wong (who broke news of the Facebook dating app last year) surfaced that tidbit after first discovering Instagram was doing the same test. The notion is that seeing the high or low reaction counts will bias future visitors. That’s something Sue and I experienced firsthand when we worked with online reviews at Epinions more than a decade ago. The current test will allow only the original poster to see the number and types of reactions.

Facebook also took two big steps to combat misinformation on the site. First, they announced a tightening of requirements necessary to advertise social advocacy and political issues. Then they made a surprise announcement about tightening up information regarding vaccination misinformation.

Users searching for vaccination information will be referred to the specific page at the World Health Organization. Facebook has also said that it will reduce the overall visibility of groups and pages sharing misinformation, including their advertising, and may stop them from using fundraising tools.

4.  Google My Business Showing Competition

Google My Business listings may now show advertising for competing businesses. This screenshot from Twitter shows a Toyota dealership’s ad inside a Chrysler dealership’s listing.

Search Engine Land reporting suggests that the ads can’t be removed which could set up a bidding war for space in free business listings.

Google My Business also announced that the list of “distance based services” has been phased out and place names substituted. Think of services that come to your home or office. You’ll search for them now using place names.

Website sitemaps (the kind computers read) also got a big boost from Google this week when Googler Gary Ilyes confirmed a years-old statement that the sitemaps are the second biggest source of a page’s visibility after Google’s own automated programs.  

Talk with us if you are responsible for an organization’s web presence and don’t know what that means.

5. Debugged: The Private Delta Jet

Vincent Peone got a lot of attention when he posted a video that said that he was the only person on a Delta flight. Gizmodo reports that the plane developed “mechanical problems” and never took off.

Sorry, Vinny. Read the story here.

6. Also in the Spotlight

Google’s differential privacy software that analyzes big data but can cloak identities has been made free by the search giant, according to The Verge.

Someone stole $240,000 by calling a British energy company using software that mimicked the CEO’s voice, according to the Washington Post.

7. Food for Thought:  Misinformation

Publishing inaccurate or misleading information online isn’t going to go away any time soon. Security firms are worried about ransomware striking election offices, power grid susceptibilities and other sabotage, but nothing can cause damage like plausible misinformation.

Where is your organization vulnerable to conspiracy theories that can show up online and damage your operations? And how can you develop resources held in reserve now in case that day comes?

8. Protip: Reporting Misinformation on Instagram

You can report individual Instagram posts that have misinformation through a new feature the company recently rolled out.  From your phone, access the post’s menu in the top right. From there, select:   REPORT –> It’s Inappropriate –> False Information.

9. Great Data: An $86 Trillion Economy

It’s hard for humans to conceptualize the differences between one million, billion, and trillion. One tool we use to help leaders visualize the stark difference is this example:

  • 1 million seconds is 12 days ago—when you were looking forward to Labor Day.
  • 1 billion seconds is 31 years ago—when Ronald Reagan was president and The Cosby Show topped the Nielsen ratings.
  • 1 trillion seconds is 31,000 years ago—when humans first began gathering in settlements.

With those differences in mind, here is an infographic of the world’s $86 trillion economy.

10. Coffee Break:  Strange Emoji Doings

ACLU data scientist Brooke Watson made my day when she posted “just learned with horror that deleting any of the “family” emojis in google slides does not remove the emoji, but rather kills off each individual family member one by one, starting with the children.

See it for yourself, amaze your friends later  (okay, it’s cute.)

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