YouTube To Launch Co-Streaming Tool, ‘Go Live Together’

In this file photo taken on June 28, 2013 a webcam is positioned in front of YouTube’s logo in Paris.  (Photo by LIONEL BONAVENTURE / AFP)

 

YouTube is preparing to launch a new feature that will allow select producers to invite a visitor to go live alongside them, the company stated in a blog post and on its Creator Insider channel.

At launch, YouTube producers will only be able to co-stream using a mobile device, as the feature will not be available on the desktop platform.

YouTube aims to expand co-streaming to more creators in the future. Initially, co-streaming will only be offered to a restricted set of producers.

Creators are able to schedule a livestream with a guest from their PC and then broadcast live from their mobile device.

Alternatively, they can go live directly from their mobile device. Although you can rotate guests on your livestream, only one can be shown at any given moment. Once you’ve invited a guest, your stream will appear above theirs.

YouTube To Certify Health Care Providers’ Accounts

YouTube logo.

 

 

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals can apply to have their YouTube channels certified, the video-sharing platform said Thursday, in a push to limit misinformation on the site.

The change will allow viewers to more easily access videos containing “high-quality health information,” YouTube said.

“This is a big step towards helping people more easily find and connect with content that comes from the extraordinary community of healthcare professionals on YouTube,” it added.

In addition to doctors and nurses, mental health professionals and healthcare information providers may also apply for the YouTube verification that allows their videos to be spotted easily by users.

“This new step will allow us to expand to include high quality information from a wider group of healthcare channels,” the company said.

Some 90 percent of Americans use social media to search for health information, according to the National Academy of Medicine.

YouTube faced criticism last year for hosting videos that criticized Covid-19 vaccines or contradicted health guidance from the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In response, in September 2021, it banned misleading and inaccurate content about vaccines.

It also launched a limited program that allowed videos by public health departments, hospitals and governments, among other entities, to have labels letting users know they are authoritative.

It is that program that is now being broadened.

To access the program, healthcare professionals must offer proof of their professional licenses, follow best practices for sharing science-based health information and have a channel in good standing on YouTube, the company said.

YouTube, headquartered in San Bruno, California, has a reach of some two billion monthly active users.

Lai Mohammed Asks Google To Block ‘Terrorist’ Groups On YouTube

A file photo of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.

 

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, on Thursday asked Google to block terrorists organisations from YouTube.

He made the request when a team from Google visited him in Abuja.

“We want Google to look into how to tackle the use of private and unlisted YouTube channels and YouTube livestreams by proscribed groups and terrorist organizations,” the Minister said, according to a statement signed by his spokesperson, Segun Adeyemi.

“Channels and emails containing names of proscribed groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on Google platforms,” he said.

Mohammed, who noted that Google is a platform of choice for IPOB, a proscribed terrorist group, implored the tech giant to deny IPOB the use of its platform for its acts of violence and destabilization.

READ ALSO: Terrorists’ Threat To Kidnap Buhari Is Laughable – Lai Mohammed

He said Nigerians are among the most vibrant social media users in the world, with over 100 million Internet users in the country, and that internet platforms such as Google, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and WhatsApp enable Nigerians to interact, share ideas……earn a living and participate in social and political affairs.

The Minister however observed that those platforms are also used by unscrupulous persons or groups for subversive and nefarious activities.

Mohammed said the Federal Nigerian Government recently proposed a “Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/ Internet Intermediaries” in an attempt to provide a framework for collaboratively protecting Nigerian users of Internet platforms.

“This code couldn’t have come at a better time, as the country prepares for general elections next year. We are committed to working with platforms like yours as well as the civil society, lawyers, media practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to ensure a responsible use of the Internet and to protect our people from the harmful effects of social media,” he said.

In his remarks,Google Regional Dir.,Sub-Saharan Africa,Govt. Affairs and Public Policy, Mr. Charles Murito,said the platform has introduced a prog. called “Trusted Flaggers” for citizens trained to track and engage with online contents in order to flag contents of serious concern

“As I mentioned earlier, we share the same sentiments, we share the same goals and objectives and we do not want our platform to be used for ill purposes,” he said.

On his part, Google Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager, Mr. Adewolu Adene, said “Equiano”, a subsea cable which recently berthed in Nigeria from Portugal, is aimed at enhancing connectivity and access to the internet as well as to drive down the cost of data,in order to create jobs and facilitate the transfer of knowledge.

He said through the Google News Initiative Challenge, 30 media platforms, with 5 from Nigeria, including the Dubawa fact-checking platform, would be awarded a $3.2 million grant in recognition of their innovative work in information dissemination.

Mr. Adene also pledged the readiness of Google to work with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to digitize the recently-repatriated artifacts in order to preserve and market them to a global audience through Google Arts and Culture.

Moscow Threatens To Expel US Journalists Over YouTube Block

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 04, 2012 (FILES) In this file photo taken on December 04, 2012 a YouTube logo during LeWeb Paris 2012 in Saint-Denis near Paris. . (Photo by Eric PIERMONT / AFP)

 

 

 

Russia’s foreign ministry on Thursday threatened to expel a US journalist or US media outlet if YouTube again blocks broadcasts of its weekly press briefings.

“A few of my briefings were blocked. What we did is we went ahead and said: if you block a briefing one more time, one journalist or one US outlet will go home,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a roundtable discussion.

She also took aim at Polish media, “taking into account that all this is overseen by a lady with Polish citizenship”, referring to the platform’s CEO Susan Wojcicki, a US citizen of Polish descent.

“Given Poland’s position (towards Russia), we may not stop at US” media, Zakharova added in quotes carried by Russian news agencies.

Since Russia began its military operation in Ukraine on February 24, YouTube has deleted the channels of many pro-Kremlin media, while state media outlet RT and state-controlled Sputnik were blocked in most Western countries.

Last week, Russia said it was closing the Moscow offices of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in retaliation for Ottawa’s banning of RT.

Russia Accuses Google, YouTube Of ‘Terrorist’ Activities

This file photo taken on February 14, 2020 shows the Google logo in Brussels. Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP
This file photo taken on February 14, 2020 shows the Google logo in Brussels. Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

 

Russian regulators on Friday accused US tech giant Google and its video subsidiary YouTube of “terrorist” activities, the first step towards a possible access ban.

Russia has already blocked access to other global tech giants including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as several independent media.

Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor said YouTube users “are sharing adverts with calls to shut down railway communications between Russia and Belarus”.

READ ALSO: Civilians Survive Ukraine Theatre Strike As Deadly Fighting Rages

Russia partly carried out its military operation against Ukraine last month from the north through the territory of its ally Belarus.

“The YouTube administration’s activities are terrorist in nature and threaten the life and health of Russian citizens,” Roskomnadzor said, quoted by Interfax news agency.

The watchdog denounced Google’s “clearly anti-Russian position” and demanded the US company “stops broadcasting anti-Russian videos as soon as possible”.

Russia earlier this month launched a criminal case against Meta — which owns Facebook and Instagram — accusing the company of allowing posts “calling for the murder” of Russians.

Russia is one of the most restrictive countries for press freedom and freedom of expression, but the situation has worsened in the past few weeks since the operation in Ukraine began on February 24.

 

AFP

YouTube Woos Creators To Fend Off Competition

In this file photo taken on June 28, 2013, a webcam is positioned in front of YouTube’s logo in Paris.(Photo by LIONEL BONAVENTURE / AFP)

 

YouTube on Thursday laid out goals for the year that included making the lives of creators easier and boosting a popular format that rivals TikTok.

The video-sharing platform is investing in short-form and live video, along with tools to help creators make money and produce fresh content, according to chief product officer Neal Mohan.

“YouTube creators are the heart and soul of the platform, and we want them to always be able to fulfill their most ambitious creative goals,” Mohan said in a blog post.

“To give them every opportunity possible, we’ll continue to invest across our multiple formats.”

READ ALSO: 92-Year-Old Malawian Music Legend Finds Fame On Tiktok

Short-form content like the video snippets that are a winning ingredient at TikTok are incredibly popular. YouTube’s take on the concept, called “Shorts,” has logged more than five trillion all-time views, according to Mohan.

YouTube started a fund last year to reward those creating popular content on Shorts and is exploring ways for them to make money such as brand sponsorships, special chat forums, or adding the ability to shop directly from a posted video clip.

Short videos, typically made using smartphones, can be as long as 60 seconds, with music and comedy as popular themes.

Facebook and Instagram parent Meta has its own spin on the offering called Reels.

YouTube has also found success with its “Live” format, with users’ time spent watching it daily more than tripling over the course of last year, Mohan said.

The video giant is planning to begin letting creators collaborate on live streams in real-time.

“One of the biggest questions live-streaming creators have is, ‘What do I talk about?'” Mohan said.

“The ability to go live together should hopefully open upstreams to more casual conversation and interactions with other creators.”

YouTube has also started testing letting channel viewers buy gift memberships for others watching the same stream, according to Mohan.

In addition, YouTube is looking into incorporating new technologies such as blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to potentially let creators sell verifiably unique videos, photos, or art.

“There’s a lot to consider in making sure we approach these new technologies responsibly, but we think there’s incredible potential as well,” Mohan said.

YouTube has been a growing contributor to revenue at Google, which makes most of its money from online advertising.

AFP

From Nigeria To India, Gen Z Taps Apps To Invest


This photo taken on October 5, 2021 shows 20-year-old college student Ishan Srivastava checking stocks online on his computer, while actively trading on apps on his smart phone, at his residence in Ghaziabad. Prakash SINGH / AFP

 

There’s a new generation of investors in town. They’re young, they get their tips on YouTube, and they’re armed with apps that make the stock markets more accessible than ever before.

US investment app Robinhood has made a splash in the West with its mission to open the markets to “everyday people”, but from Nigeria to India, Gen Z are flocking to homegrown equivalents.

“I don’t really care about my college, to be honest. It’s all market, market, and market,” said Delhi student Ishan Srivastava, who started trading last December.

Srivastava uses a handful of Indian trading apps, including Zerodha and Upstox, and often gets his financial advice from YouTube. The ambitious 20-year-old hopes to build a diverse investment portfolio and then retire by 45.

In India in particular, the investment revolution has been aided by a boom in “demat” accounts — easy-to-open electronic accounts for holding financial securities, equity, or debt.

But a similar app-led investment craze is also underway 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) away, in Nigeria.

 Banks ‘Less Attractive By The Month’ 

The country’s economic hub Lagos has long been known for its hustle and celebration of success, but the weakness of the naira currency has put extra pressure on youths to make cash as the cost of living has rocketed.

Nigerians have flocked to local apps such as Trove and Risevest which allow them to invest in US stocks, widely seen as a means of protecting wealth as the naira nightmare continues.

“I had the option of putting the money in the bank, but that is looking less attractive by the month,” said 23-year-old Dahunsi Oyedele.

“Sometimes I put my money in Risevest and get some returns in a week. Imagine getting one or two percent returns on 100,000 naira ($240) each week — that’s small, but it means a lot.”

For a few months after losing his job as a tech journalist due to the pandemic, Oyedele covered his rent by trading cryptocurrencies.

He is far from alone in turning to speculation during the Covid-19 crisis, as a combination of mass joblessness, stay-at-home orders, and — for the fortunate — underused savings have encouraged people worldwide to dabble in trading for the first time.

In the US alone more than 10 million new investors entered the markets in the first half of 2021, according to JMP Securities, some of them drawn in by social media hype around “meme stocks” like GameStop.

Worldwide, the new arrivals are largely young. Robinhood’s median US customer age is 31; India’s Upstox says more than 80 percent of its users are 35 or under, a figure matched by Nigeria’s Bamboo (83 percent).

Trading apps have lowered the barriers to entry for youngsters in part by offering fractional trade.

A share in Amazon, for instance, is currently worth more than $3,000 — unaffordable for the average Gen Z or slightly older millennial. But a small fraction of that share might be within reach, particularly on an app that charges zero commission.

 Flirting With Danger? 

Trading apps may have been hailed as democratising access to the markets, but critics say they could also make it easier for inexperienced young investors to get into hot water.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether apps are irresponsibly encouraging overtrading using excessive email alerts and by making investment feel like a game.

And Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority warned in March that the new cohort of young investors — who skew in the UK towards being women and from minority backgrounds — have more to lose.

Nearly two-thirds of the new investors it surveyed said “a significant investment loss would have a fundamental impact on their current or future lifestyle”, the FCA found.

“This newer group of self-investors are more reliant on contemporary media (e.g. YouTube, social media) for tips and news,” the watchdog noted.

“This trend appears to be prompted by the accessibility offered by new investment apps.”

Some young investors have already been burned.

Mumbai-based product designer Ali Attarwala is giving trading a break after a bad experience with cryptocurrencies earlier this year.

“These apps make it easy to buy speculative assets like crypto, but there is still a lot of volatility in these new assets,” the 30-year-old told AFP.

Srivastava has also had ups and downs, but he sees his losses as part of the learning experience.

“When I started, I blew up almost 50 percent of the capital,” he said.

“I don’t treat them as my losses, but like education fees.”

AFP

Rwandan Police Arrest YouTubers, Opposition Members For ‘Spreading Rumours’

A file photo used to illustrate the story.

 

Rwandan police on Thursday announced the arrest of six people including the owner of a popular YouTube channel and three opposition party members for “spreading rumours” intended to undermine the government. 

The arrests came two weeks after a court sentenced a prominent YouTube commentator and genocide survivor to 15 years in prison for “inciting violence” following her criticism of President Paul Kagame.

In the latest round-up Wednesday, police took six people into custody including Nsengimana Theoneste, the owner of Umubavu TV — a YouTube channel with over 16 million views, which has previously urged Rwandans to denounce human rights abuses allegedly instigated by the government against citizens.

“They are an organised group with the intention to spread rumours intended to cause uprising or unrest among the population using different social media platforms,” Thierry Murangira, spokesman for the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), told AFP Thursday.

In a statement Wednesday, RIB urged Rwandans to be wary of social media commentators seeking to “undermine national security” and the government.

“Anyone arrested will be prosecuted in accordance with the law,” it added.

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 ‘Intimidation’ 

Three of those arrested belong to the unregistered Dalfa Umurunzi (Development and Liberty for All) opposition party, said leader and founder Victoire Ingabire.

“I take this as intimidation,” she told AFP.

“I don’t know what the rumours they are arrested for are about.”

Ingabire returned from exile in 2010 to run against Kagame, but was arrested and jailed for eight years on terrorism charges, a term later extended to 15 years. She was released by presidential pardon in 2018.

Several people have fallen foul of Rwandan authorities after turning to YouTube to publish content critical of the Kagame government, raising concern among international rights groups.

Last month Yvonne Idamage, a 42-year-old mother of four, was convicted of six charges, sentenced to 15 years behind bars and fined the equivalent of $2,000 after she accused Kagame and his government of dictatorship.

Rwanda, ruled by Kagame since the end of the 1994 genocide which left some 800,000 mainly ethnic Tutsi dead, has often come under fire for rights abuses and a crackdown on freedom of speech, critics and the opposition.

In March, Human Rights Watch voiced alarm over Kigali’s crackdown on people using YouTube or blogs to speak out about sometimes controversial issues in Rwanda.

HRW said then that at least eight people reporting or commenting on current affairs — notably the impact of strict anti-Covid measures which have hit the poor hard — have been threatened, arrested or prosecuted in the past year.

AFP

YouTube Removes R. Kelly Official Channels After Conviction

A file photo of R Kelly.

 

YouTube on Wednesday said it removed two official channels belonging to singer R. Kelly, who was recently convicted of operating a sex crimes ring that saw him abuse women and children for decades.

“We have terminated two channels linked to R. Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines,” a YouTube spokesperson told AFP in a statement.

The “I Believe I Can Fly” singer, who for years reigned over the world of R&B, still has music available on YouTube music, where 137,000 people subscribe to the disgraced star, and third-party uploads of his songs are still allowed.

The removal follows years of protest from the #MuteRKelly movement. Long before the singer was indicted in four separate jurisdictions, the effort called to ban his music over long-standing abuse allegations.

His catalogue is still available on major platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music.

Kelly, 54, was found guilty in September of nine criminal counts, including the most serious of racketeering, following six weeks of disturbing testimony accusing him of systematically recruiting women and teenagers for sex, before grooming and brutally abusing them.

He is currently incarcerated and faces up to life in prison, with his sentencing hearing scheduled for May 4.

Kelly is also slated for prosecution in three other jurisdictions, including Illinois federal court.

AFP

Rwandan YouTuber Jailed For 15 Years After Anti-Kagame Posts

Yvonne Idamange/YouTube

 

A Rwandan court on Thursday sentenced a prominent YouTube commentator and genocide survivor to 15 years in prison for “inciting violence” after she hit out at President Paul Kagame on her channel.

Yvonne Idamange is one of a number of people who have fallen foul of the authorities after turning to the video-sharing platform to publish content critical of the Kagame government, raising concern among international rights groups.

The 42-year-old mother of four, who was not in court for the verdict, was convicted of six charges, sentenced to 15 years behind bars and fined the equivalent of $2,000 — less than the 30 years and $6,000 sought by the prosecution.

Idamange, who survived the 1994 genocide, was arrested in February for “exhibiting behaviour that mixes politics, criminality, and madness”, police said at the time.

The Kigali High Court found her guilty of inciting violence and public uprising, denigrating genocide artefacts, spreading rumours and violent assault, among other charges.

The accusations were based on comments on her popular YouTube channel “Idamange” in which she accused Kagame and his government of dictatorship, and of exploiting the genocide without giving enough welfare to the survivors.

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Her YouTube channel boasts 18,900 subscribers and an average of 100,000 views per video.

Idamange had accused the court of bias and boycotted proceedings in June after her request for the trial to be broadcast online was rejected by the court.

Rwanda, ruled by Kagame since the end of a genocide which left some 800,000 mainly ethnic Tutsi dead, has often come under fire for rights abuses and a crackdown on freedom of speech, critics and the opposition.

In March, Human Rights Watch voiced alarm over Kigali’s crackdown on people using YouTube or blogs to speak out about sometimes controversial issues in Rwanda.

HRW said then that at least eight people reporting or commenting on current affairs — notably the impact of strict anti-Covid measures which have hit the poor hard — have been threatened, arrested, or prosecuted in the past year.

It pointed to a 2019 statement by Kagame to highlight the dangers faced by those using online platforms: “Those that you hear speak on the internet, whether they are in America, in South Africa, or in France, they think they are far.

“They are far, but they are close to the fire. The day they get closer, the fire will burn them.”

AFP

YouTube Cracks Down On Anti-COVID Vaccine Videos

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 24, 2019 shows the logo of the US Youtube logo application on the screen of a tablet. (Photo by Martin BUREAU / AFP)

 

 

YouTube said Wednesday it would remove videos that falsely claim approved vaccines are dangerous, as social networks seek to crack down on health misinformation around COVID-19 and other diseases.

Video-sharing giant YouTube has already banned posts that spread false myths around coronavirus treatments, including ones that share inaccurate claims about Covid-19 vaccines shown to be safe.

But the Google-owned site said its concerns about the spread of medical conspiracy theories went beyond the pandemic.

“We’ve steadily seen false claims about the coronavirus vaccines spill over into misinformation about vaccines in general,” the Google-owned website said in a statement.

“We’re now at a point where it’s more important than ever to expand the work we started with COVID-19 to other vaccines.”

READ ALSO: Russia Vows Retaliation After YouTube Blocks German RT Accounts

In this file photo taken on June 28, 2013 a webcam is positioned in front of YouTube’s logo in Paris. (Photo by LIONEL BONAVENTURE / AFP).

 

The expanded policy will apply to “currently administered vaccines that are approved and confirmed to be safe and effective by local health authorities and the WHO (World Health Organization).”

It will see false claims about routine immunizations for diseases like measles and Hepatitis B removed from YouTube.

These would include cases where vloggers have claimed that approved vaccines do not work, or wrongly linked them to chronic health effects.

Content that “falsely says that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility, or that substances in vaccines can track those who receive them” will also be taken down.

“As with any significant update, it will take time for our systems to fully ramp up enforcement,” YouTube added.

It stressed there would be exceptions to the new guidelines, with personal testimonials of negative experiences with vaccines still allowed, so long as “the channel doesn’t show a pattern of promoting vaccine hesitancy.”

YouTube said it had removed more than 130,000 videos since last year for violating its Covid-19 vaccine policies.

On Tuesday, the company told German media that it had blocked the German-language channels of Russia’s state broadcaster RT for violating its Covid misinformation guidelines.

YouTube said it had issued a warning to RT before shutting the two channels down, but the move has prompted a threat from Moscow to block the video site.

It is not the only social media giant grappling with how to deal with the spread of Covid-19 conspiracy theories and medical misinformation in general.

Facebook this month launched a renewed effort to tackle extremist and conspiracy groups, beginning by taking down a German network spreading Covid misinformation.

Russia Vows Retaliation After YouTube Blocks German RT Accounts

 

(FILES) YouTube said on September 29, 2021 it would remove videos that falsely claim approved vaccines are dangerous, as social networks seek to crack down on health misinformation around Covid-19 and other diseases. (Photo by Eric PIERMONT / AFP)

 

 

Russia has threatened retaliatory measures after YouTube blocked the German-language channels of state broadcaster RT for violating coronavirus disinformation rules.

The US video-sharing platform told German media on Tuesday that it had issued a warning to RT for violating its coronavirus disinformation guidelines and then shuttered two channels for breaching user terms.

The move comes amid an escalating standoff between foreign tech companies and the Kremlin, which accuses them of interfering in Russian politics, including by hosting content supportive of jailed opposition leader, Alexei Navalny.

Russia’s foreign ministry accused YouTube of an “unprecedented act of media aggression” which it said was likely aided by German authorities.

“The adoption of symmetrical retaliatory measures against German media in Russia… seems not only appropriate, but also necessary,” the ministry said in a statement.

“We believe these measures are the only possible way to stimulate our partners’ interest in a constructive and meaningful dialogue around this unacceptable situation,” it said.

Russia has recently been ramping up pressure on foreign tech giants as it seeks greater controls over content available online to its domestic audience.

Ahead of parliamentary elections this month, Russia’s media watchdog blocked dozens of websites linked to Navalny, whose organisations were banned in Russia under “extremism” legislation.

Courts have slapped non-compliant platforms, including Twitter, Google and Facebook, with a series of fines and in March started throttling the speed of Twitter’s services.