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Last Week Online #55 – Is it too late to be nice when the party is over?

Anna Loverus
Anna Loverus
2 min read

On Monday, YouTube announced a harder position against misinformation leading up to the US presidential election in 2020. The platform writes in a blog post that it will remove election-related content that is misleading and can cause "serious risk of egregious harm." This statement is the first real plan for how YouTube will deal with misleading political videos and viral lies.

Leslie Miller, the vice president of government affairs and public policy at YouTube, writes "We've increased our efforts to make YouTube a more reliable source for news and information, as well as an open platform for healthy political discourse." Further, she adds that YouTube will enforce its policies "without regard to a video's political viewpoint."

Spotify keeps shopping for podcasts

After buying three podcast companies last year, including Gimlet Media, Spotify is not done shopping just yet. On Wednesday it was made official that Spotify is buying The Ringer, a website and podcasting network founded by Bill Simmons in 2016 after he left ESPN.

The Ringer has more than 30 podcasts in its line-up and will help Spotify take the necessary step from streaming service to content creator. Trying to make the same move for audio like Netflix did for video. Dawn Ostroff, chief content officer of Spotify, said that acquiring The Ringer, with its many sports podcasts, will help drive the company's "global sports strategy."

While Spotify is buying content like it's no tomorrow, more players are entering the arena. Google recently launched a highlighted design for podcasts in its search results, making it possible to play podcast episodes directly from your browser or in its Google Podcasts app for Android. And when "audio search" technology becomes accessible at scale; Google might have a clear advantage over Spotify. Fun times ahead!

Twitter will label or remove fake or manipulated photos

On Tuesday (only one day after YouTube decided to remove misleading political videos) Twitter announced that it would add labels or remove tweets containing altered images or videos. Also, it might warn people before they engage with a tweet with manipulated or fake content or limit the Tweet's reach. This new policy will take effect in March.

It is not a complete ban. Instead, the platform is hoping to be able to determine whether a tweet should be removed or labelled based on several tests. If the image or video is altered significantly or fabricated to mislead, or if it's shared to mislead the audience, it will most likely get a label. For Twitter to take down a tweet, it must be "likely to impact public safety or cause serious harm."

The policy is supposed to be technology agnostic. "Whether you're using advanced machine learning tools or just slowing down a video using a 99-cent app on your phone, our focus under this policy is to look at the outcome, not how it was achieved," said Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of site integrity.

Tool of the week: Zapier

I'm not too fond of doing my expenses, making sure my bookkeeper has everything she needs when she needs it. But now, I can save any pdf or photo into a specific folder in my Dropbox, and it takes care of itself. Invoices arriving via email is magically sent to the right place without me even knowing.

So, after spending an afternoon automating my bookkeeping process using Zapier, I decided it deserves some time to shine. Zapier is not new, but it has previously been a lot less capable. I've often tried to use it but ended up in a dead-end. Now it's a lot more competent.

The tool lets you automate tasks by connecting apps with APIs with each other. You create rules telling Zapier what should happen based on an initial trigger, and it does. You can do a lot more than just connecting Dropbox and Gmail as I have done, but that simple use case in itself will probably save me 4-6 hours a month. Not bad!

Last Week Online

Anna Loverus Twitter

Thinker and doer. Loves running, wine, and human behaviour.

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