Happy Friday! 💃 Here's what everyone's been talking about this week...
YouTube is still profiting from misinformation
As news anchor Brad Smith put it, Rudy was "melting like a chocolate sundae on a summer day" throughout the stream yesterday, as he spouted a confusing web of conspiracy theories. Throughout the stream, YouTube allowed users to pay money to join in and spread their unfounded conspiracy theories in the live chats on videos...and, of course, YouTube profited from it.
Users have been able to do this since back in 2017 when YouTube released its Super Chats and Super Stickers feature that allowed viewers to pay money to the platform for the privilege of pinning comments at the top of comment boxes during livestreams. Around 70% of the fee goes to the person who owns the channel, and the remaining 30% goes to YouTube.
A report by the New York Times revealed that election misinformation often evaded YouTube's efforts to stop it.
Some of the pinned comments, as reported by VICE, included:
“HOW IS THIS HAPPENING IN THE UNITED STATES? THERE IS MORE EVIDENCE! GEORGE SOROS CONNECTION, BIDEN’S? CHINESE CONNECTIONS! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out"
“California Voter Fraud. Our elections are rigged. Illegals, & dead voting, Republican ballots never sent, some tossed. Never counted"
"Hope you all saw Crowder's latest revelations. Over 170,000 unregistered voters voted in Michigan!"
In other news, YouTube has also announced that it will start running ads on some creators' videos...but it won't give them a portion of the ad revenue because they're not big enough. Sounds...helpful.
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg and Dorsey were grilled over their moderation practices on Tuesday... 🔥
For the second time in two months, Zuckerberg and Dorsey testified before the Senate to defend themselves.
A significant portion of the discussion focused on how Facebook and Twitter carry out the process of moderating the content posted on their platforms, with over half of the questions asked focussing on content moderation.
Republican senators were particularly focused on how Twitter and Facebook could employ less moderation, while Democrats said that companies had not gone far enough to moderate content, and questioned how Facebook and Twitter could increase their moderation efforts around topics such as hate speech.
Both Republicans and Democrats agreed that Facebook and Twitter have enforced their policies inconsistently, and Zuckerberg and Dorsey agreed that reform around how content is moderated should be revisited.
Dorsey has also stated that Trump's Twitter account will lose special treatment once he leaves office, and that "if an account suddenly is not a world leader anymore, that particular policy goes away". Zuckerberg, on the other hand, has stated that Facebook's moderation of Trump's posts will not change when he leaves office.
Other big stories this week
Viral. Pig. Couch. -- A couple of times a year, a strange Craigslist scam keeps popping up advertising a...pig couch. It's particularly strange because it seems to be a different person each time. I did some digging by chatting Abbey, who has been following the pig couch scam for years. I managed to track down the pig couch artist, Pavia Burroughs, and even the current owner, Snort.
BuzzFeed acquired HuffPost. According to the Wall Street Journal, HuffPost's parent company, Verizon Media, has reached an agreement to sell the site to BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed News says it will remain a separate news organisation from HuffPost.
Silicon Valley capitalists are heading to Eastern Europe. Engineers and capital are checking out of Silicon Valley, and into Belarus, Serbia, Russia, Bulgaria, and other countries of Eastern Europe. The reason? To a large extent, it's the legacy of...the Soviet Union.
Gamers are bringing Jesus to Twitch. The COVID-19 pandemic means less people are going out, and more people are staying indoors playing video games. A group of Christian evangelists, known as God Mode Activated, have begun using streaming platforms to spread the gospel while playing Fortnite.
Japan Inc to begin experiments issuing digital Yen. More than 30 major Japanese firms will begin experiments next year towards issuing a common, private digital currency to promote digitalisation in Japan, as a result of a growing awareness of the need for Japan to catch up to rapid global advances in financial technology.
The best thing I found on the internet this week
Somehow, Pope Francis' Instagram account liked a very NSFW photo. It's unclear whether it was a bot service being paid to do social media engagement on the pope's behalf, or if the person managing the account messed up and thought they were liking the picture from their own account.
Irregardless, the best part was the model, Natalie Garibotto's, response.
She told Barstool Sports: "My mum may hate my ass pics but the pope be double-tapping."