Archiv für den Monat: Februar 2019

YouTube + child safety: Is the service doing enough?

YouTube memo with immediate actions they're taking to address issues

It has been a challenging month for YouTube.

As we recently reported, fresh concerns over child safety on the service came to light back on 17th February.

In a video published to the site, vlogger Matt Watson details how the service is being exploited by paedophiles who were using comment sections under innocuous videos of children to leave sexually provocative messages, to communicate with each other, and to link out to child pornography.

Of course, journalists and news sites were quick to level criticism at YouTube. Many pointed out that this wasn’t the first time child safety on the service has been called into question. Others were critical that its methods for safeguarding children were too ‘whack-a-mole‘ in their approach.

And then came the actions of the advertisers – with Nestle, AT&T and Epic Games (creator of Fortnite) all pulling their ads from the service.

So how has YouTube responded? Is it doing enough?

Memo directly sent to advertisers

On 20th February YouTube sent out a memo to brands advertising on the service.

It detailed the ‘immediate actions‘ it was taking to ensure children are safe in light of the recent allegations from Watson. These included suspending comments and reporting accounts to the NCMEC.

The memo reiterated that child safety is YouTube’s No. 1 priority, but also admitted there was more work to be done.

It laid out a roadmap of tweaks and improvements, including better improving the service’s ability to find predatory comments (set to be implemented this month) and potentially changing how ads are placed on channels.

YouTube memo: Looking ahead, what's on the roadmap?

Changes to Community Guidelines strikes system – are these related?

In a potentially related move, YouTube also announced via a recent blog post that it was going to make changes to its Community Guidelines.

The changes – which came into force on 25th February – include a warning for users the first time their content crosses the line.

YouTube says: ‘Although the content will be removed, there will be no other penalty on the channel. There will be only one warning and unlike strikes, the warning will not reset after 90 days.‘

The ‘three strike‘ system still exists but is stricter and more straightforward. Now a first strike results in a one-week freeze on the ability to upload any new content to the service. Previously, first strikes just resulted in a freeze on live-streaming.

A second strike in any 90-day period will result in a two-week freeze on the ability to upload any new content. Ultimately, a third strike in any 90-day period will result in channel termination.

That YouTube has taken this opportunity to address its creator community directly is interesting.

The Guardian has reported that the fallout from Watson’s video resulted in a number of prominent YouTube users criticizing him, rather than the service. Their reasoning was that it was overreactive and a deliberate attempt to drive advertisers away.

Additionally, a report at ABC News shed light on stories from creators who have been the victims of false claims and extortion attempts by bad actors who promise to remove strikes only after they’ve received payment via PayPal or BitCoin.

With this in mind, we can see that YouTube have been quite diplomatic in how they’ve rolled this Community Guideline change out. Imposing stricter penalties against a backdrop of better transparency and simpler rules is quite laudable.

Further questions over safety since

In the wake of Watson’s video, further news stories have emerged which relate directly and indirectly to child safety on YouTube.

On 24th February, pediatrician Free Hess exposed that some children’s videos available on YouTube Kids had hidden footage detailing how to commit suicide spliced into them (as reported at The Washington Post).

Additionally, on 25th February the BBC reported that the service was stopping adverts being shown on channels which showed anti-vaccination content.

And the past couple days, widespread internet concern has raged over “The Momo Challenge,” a supposed challenge encouraging minors to do dangerous / potentially self-harming acts.

However, this morning The Atlantic reported that this has been a digital hoax. And that it has followed similar cycles as the so-called Blue Whale challenge, teens eating toxic Tide Pods, and the cinnamon challenge — all of which were found to have no reported deaths/injuries associated.

And yesterday, YouTube tweeted this:

We want to clear something up regarding the Momo Challenge: We’ve seen no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo Challenge on YouTube. Videos encouraging harmful and dangerous challenges are against our policies.

— YouTube (@YouTube) February 27, 2019

The company has also just updated their Creator Blog with a post titled, “More updates on our actions related to the safety of minors on YouTube.”

In it, they summarize “the main steps we’ve taken to improve child safety on YouTube since our update last Friday.”

These steps include:

  1. Disabling comments on videos featuring minors
  2. Launching a new comments classifier
  3. Taking action on creators who cause egregious harm to the community

It does seem that they are moving quickly to remedy the problems. But I think anyone would agree — they’ve had quite the month.

So the challenge is certainly ongoing…

All this does highlight the difficulty YouTube has in keeping all its millions of viewers, creators, and advertisers safe and happy.

We know the service is constantly updating its algorithm across its search function and its recommendations in order to give users better – more trustworthy – content.

We can also be quite sure that there has been a fair amount of activity in protecting minors on the service since 2017 when unsuitable content featuring Disney and Marvel characters was being found to be available on YouTube Kids. This timeframe is in line with the aforementioned memo which assures that the service has been working hard to improve in this regard for the past 18 months.

I’m not sure it’s entirely fair, then, to call YouTube’s approach to safeguarding children a ‘whack-a-mole approach‘ or one which only sees the site take action when the instances gain media attention.

The sheer amount of content and users on the service is so massive, it depends on the community to produce the content and – at times – to monitor how it is used. In this instance, a user flagged an issue up and YouTube worked very quickly indeed. The service is always improving. But changes, tweaks, and improvements are not always newsworthy. The same can be said for Google.

Yes, there is more to be done. As online video continues to boom and the creator community continues to grow, we can expect issues to arise.

But I think it is unlikely that YouTube wouldn’t be proactive here. After all, its very existence depends on having great videos, trustworthy content, a safe community of users who are having a positive experience on the site, and an ecosystem where advertisers want to be.

The post YouTube + child safety: Is the service doing enough? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


Look at the book

Mehr Bilder…

Was muss ein Lookbook eines spannenden Fotografen-Newcomers so bieten? Genau, die Fotos müssen im Vordergrund stehen und durch die Gestaltung nicht überboten, sondern unterstützt werden. Das schafft man nur, wenn man sich auf jede Seite, sogar auf jedes einzelne Foto einlässt und dessen Geschichte grafisch transportiert und weiterspielt. Ohne einheitliches Erscheinungsbild entstehen natürlich neue Herausforderungen. Beispielsweise das Thema Typografie. Eine Corporate Schrift für alle Bilder? Unmöglich. Deswegen: handgefertige Typo auf 100 Seiten. Je nach Charakter des Bildes. Jede Seite ist ein Unikat und macht Lust auf die nächste kurzweilige, neu gestaltete Doppelseite. Abgerundet wird das bis ins letzte Detail liebevoll gestaltete Druckwerk durch ein edles, mattes Papier und einem Umhefter in Sonderformat, das den Fotografen vorstellt, aber nicht in Konkurenz zum eigentlichen Lookbook steht.

Aber genug geschrieben, selber rein schauen und genießen. Jetzt. Und nicht gleich hellrot werden vor Freude …



How to dominate Google News search in 2019

A few weeks ago, Google published a blog post on its webmaster blog sharing some tips on how to get more success in Google News search in 2019.

2019 will be a hard fight against fake news as fake news outlets are increasing with time. Along with some social media platforms, Google is also responsible for the spreading of fake and misleading news. If you are running a clickbait rich site with a lot of crappy content, you may encounter Google’s punishment this year.

Generally, Google looks at these five factors when ranking news articles:

  • Freshness
  • Diversity
  • Rich textual content
  • Originality of content
  • User preferences for topics or publishers

To succeed in 2019 your news content should be original, authoritative, and should provide timely news information.

Six important tips for news content

  1. Articles‘ headlines should be clear. Keep it in the H1 tag. Headlines should be a minimum of 10 characters, between two and 22 words.
  2. Use proper time and date. Show clear and visible time and date below the title and above the article. Use structured data.
  3. Be transparent in your content. Fake news is a major problem on the internet, especially from the last American presidential election. Google will try to scan out fake news content in 2019. Best practice for this time is to create a very user-friendly site, not something crappy with lots of pop-ups and ads. Add detailed information, mention sources, make it authoritative.
  4. Don’t be deceptive in your content. Don’t mislead. Misleading information in the content can ban you from Google.
  5. Secure your website’s every page with HTTPS. A website that uses Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) confirms a secure connection between the browser and user. It protects users‘ sensitive information. For a news site, it is a very good search signal.
  6. Don’t participate in link spam to increase your ranking. Don’t buy links.

The five ‘w’s

To write your news content, you can use this popular news writing formula. Ask yourself the five ‘w‘ questions and answer them all in your first paragraph of news content. The main aim is to provide a lot of information in the first paragraph.

Internet readers have a small attention span and most people scan the content, instead of line by line reading. This is especially true for news.

Write your first paragraph answering these questions.

  1. Who?
  2. What?
  3. Where?
  4. When?
  5. Why?

Use proper nouns in the headline

Generic nouns will not get as much attention as proper nouns in Google search. Use proper names of brands, organizations or of people related to your news in the headlines. If you can creatively use proper names where other news outlets are not, you will get a huge advantage in the Google News search.

Graphics, images and video content

Use graphics, images, and videos on your news content to explain your news or to provide more information. Google loves this. With engaging videos and graphics, you can attract more readers, and make your content more shareable.

But before sharing your multimedia follow the guidelines of Google.

Beware the sensational, exceptional, negative, and current (SENC)

SENC is sensational, exceptional, negative, and current events, which is a general definition of current news. But, if you follow this definition to produce your news, they will not be authentic or convey real helpful information.

Shocking, scandalous things can be viral, but these types of sensational news should not be your priority.

If you prioritize only exceptional things, your content will become misleading.

Current news is full of recency bias. The present most recent things, without much in-depth and background information. But every recent event has a root in something old and slow systematic change. In your news content, you should present the actual root cause as much as possible to make the content more authoritative. It will earn you good links and build your brand.

Your news should be foundational not sensational.

On publishing breaking news, you should not be in a hurry to publish it faster than your competitors. Instead, before publishing the content, ask yourself what new information your article will provide that is not found elsewhere.

Pay less attention to CTR, dwell time, and other UX signals on the landing page

Image on click-through rate

According to recent AMA of Gary Illyes, Google webmaster trends analyst:

“RankBrain is a PR-sexy machine learning ranking component that uses historical search data to predict what would a user most likely click on for a previously unseen query. It is a really cool piece of engineering that saved our butts countless times whenever traditional algos were like, e.g. “Oh look a ‘not‘ in the query string! Let’s ignore the hell out of it!”, but it’s generally just relying on (sometimes) months‘ old data about what happened on the results page itself, not on the landing page. Dwell time, CTR, whatever Fishkin’s new theory is, those are generally made up crap. Search is much more simple than people think.”

This thread from a couple weeks ago caused quite a stir. Perhaps we distract ourselves too much from the “simplicity” of what is actually search?

Ps — what are your thoughts on RankBrain and UX? Leave a comment below!

Muradul Islam is a Business Analyst at WeDevs. He can be found on Twitter @muradt20.

The post How to dominate Google News search in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.


Das digitale Schulbuch – Ein Prototyp

Mehr Bilder…

Im Zentrum der Arbeit steht die Frage danach, welche neuen Bildungsmöglichkeiten und -Inhalte denn nun eigentlich in den ›neuen Medien‹ stecken. Entstanden ist ein App-Prototyp mit zwei Beispielkapiteln, deren steuerbare Animationen die Inhalte nicht nur anschaulich aufarbeiten, sondern vor allem das digitale Platzangebot nutzen, um die Bedeutsamkeit des Inhalts zu vermitteln. Denn warum Lernende sich überhaupt mit Analysis beschäftigen sollten, kommt in analogen Schulbüchern stets zu kurz.

Auch die Kapitel verstehen sich als Prototypen, die von den Lehrkräften erweitert oder zu ganz neuen Kapiteln kompiliert werden können und sich mit Schülern und Kollegen teilen lassen. Somit ist das digitale Schulbuch stets offen für die nachvollziehbarsten Darstellungen und bedeutsamsten Argumente.

Schüler bekommen ihrerseits mithilfe einer Schaubildfunktion die Möglichkeit, die Inhalte selbst nach eigenem Verständnis aufzubereiten, zu kommentieren, zu ergänzen und zu interpretieren. Die neu entstandenen Schaubilder können wiederum geteilt werden – das Schulbuch wird somit dialogisch.

Diplomarbeit an der Fakultät Gestaltung der Hochschule Wismar.

Markus Dittrich