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Tag Archives: children

YouTube CEO’s latest update details its growth, glosses over content problems

YouTube highlighted its growth and promised better communication with creators about its tests and experiments, the company announced today in its latest of an ongoing series of updates from CEO Susan Wojcicki focused on YouTube’s top five priorities in 2018. The majority of her missive today – which was also released in the form of a YouTube video – were wrap-ups of other announcements and launches the company had recently made, like the new features released at this year’s VidCon including Channel Memberships, merchandise, and Famebit. However, the company did offer a few updates related to those launches, including news of expanded merch partnerships. But YouTube didn’t detail the crucial steps it should be taking to address the content issues that continue to plague its site. YouTube said one way it’s improving communication is via  Creator Insider , an unofficial channel started by YouTube employees, which offers weekly updates, responds to concerns, and gives a more behind-the-scenes look into product launches. In terms of its product updates, YouTube said that Channel Memberships, which are currently open to those with more than 100,000 subscribers, will roll out to more creators in the “coming months.” Meanwhile, merch, which is now available to U.S.-based channels with over 10,000 subscribers, will add new merchandising partners and expand to more creators “soon.” At present, YouTube is partnered with custom merchandise platform Teespring, which keeps a cut of the merchandise sales while YouTube earns a small commission. The company didn’t say which other merchandise providers would be joining the program. YouTube’s Famebit, which connects creators and brands for paid content creation, is also growing. YouTube says that more than half of channels working with Famebit doubled their YouTube revenue in the first three months of the year. And it will soon launch a new feature that will allow YouTube viewers to shop for products, apps, and tickets right form the creator’s watch page. (This was announced at VidCon, too.) Content problems remain There was little attention given to brand safety in today’s update, however, beyond a promise that this continues to be one of YouTube’s “biggest priorities” and that it’s seeing “positive” results. In reality, the company still struggles with content moderation. It even fails to follow-up when there’s a high-profile case, it seems.

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Facebook and Instagram change to crack down on underage children

Facebook and Instagram will more proactively lock the accounts of users its moderators suspect are below the age of 13. Its former policy was to only investigate accounts if they were reported specifically for being potentially underage. But Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch that an ‘operational’ change to its policy for reviewers made this week will see them lock the accounts of any underage user they come across, even if they were reported for something else, such as objectionable content, or are otherwise discovered by reviewers. Facebook will require the users to provide proof that they’re over 13 such a government issued photo ID to regain access. The problem stems from Facebook not requiring any proof of age upon signup. Facebook Messenger Kids is purposefully aimed at users under age 13 A tougher stance here could reduce Facebook and Instagram’s user counts and advertising revenue. The apps’ formerly more hands-off approach allowed them to hook young users so by the time they turned 13, they had already invested in building a social graph and history of content that tethers them to the Facebook corporation. While Facebook has lost cache with the youth over time and as their parents joined, Instagram is still wildly popular with them and likely counts many tweens or even younger children as users. The change comes in response to an undercover documentary report by the UK’s Channel 4 and Firecrest Films that saw a journalist become a Facebook content reviewer through a third-party firm called CPL Resources in Dublin, Ireland. A reviewer there claims they were instructed to ignore users who appeared under 13, saying “We have to have an admission that the person is underage. If not, we just like pretend that we are blind and that we don’t know what underage looks like.” The report also outlined how far-right political groups are subject to different threshholds for deletion than other Pages or accounts if they post hateful content in violation of Facebook’s policies. In response, Facebook published a blog post on July 16th claiming that that high-profile Pages and registered political groups may receive a second layer of review from Facebook employees. But in an update on July 17th, Facebook noted that “Since the program, we have been working to update the guidance for reviewers to put a hold on any account they encounter if they have a strong indication it is underage, even if the report was for something else.” Now a Facebook spokesperson confirms to TechCrunch that this is a change to how reviewers are trained to enforce its age policy for both Facebook and Instagram.

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Messenger Kids launches in Mexico

Messenger Kids , Facebook’s parent-controlled messaging app that lets kids text, call, video chat, and use face filters, has now arrived in Mexico. The launch follows Messenger Kids’ recent expansion outside the U.S ., where in June it first became available to users in Canada and Peru. The app in Mexico works the same as it does elsewhere – parents have to approve all the contacts the child is allowed to talk to – whether that’s family members the child knows, like grandma and grandpa, or the child’s friends. Facebook has consulted with paid advisor Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and others on the development of Messenger Kids’ features focused on principles of social and emotional learning. For example, it recently introduced a section of guidelines that remind kids to “be kind” and “be respectful” and rolled out “kindness stickers” which are meant to encourage more positive emotions when communicating online. These approaches are meant to help kids learn, from the beginning, better ways of communicating when online. However, it’s still advisable for parents to sit with kids as they practice texting for the first time, in order to talk about what’s appropriate behavior. As kids gets older, parents should continue to spot check their conversations and have discussions about what the child may have done right or wrong. For example, we use Messenger Kids in our home, and I recently had a conversation about when it’s too early or too late to be placing a video call, after reviewing the chat history. I then adjusted the app’s “bedtime hours” to limit calls to certain daytime hours.

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Roblox responds to the hack that allowed a child’s avatar to be raped in its game

There’s a special place in Hell for people who think it’s funny to rape a 7-year-old girl’s avatar in an online virtual world designed for children. Yes, that happened . Roblox, a hugely popular online game for kids, was hacked by an individual who subverted the game’s protection systems in order to have customized animations appear. This allowed two male avatars to gang rape a young girl’s avatar on a playground in one of the Roblox games. The company has now issued an apology to the victim and its community, and says it has determined how the hacker was able to infiltrate its system so it can prevent future incidents. The mother of the child, whose avatar was the victim of the in-game sexual assault, was nearby when the incident took place. She says her child showed her what was happening on the screen and she took the device away, fortunately shielding her daughter from seeing most of the activity. The mother then captured screenshots of the event in order to warn others. She described the incident in a public Facebook post that read, in part: At first, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My sweet and innocent daughter’s avatar was being VIOLENTLY GANG-RAPED ON A PLAYGROUND by two males. A female observer approached them and proceeded to jump on her body at the end of the act. Then the 3 characters ran away, leaving my daughter’s avatar laying on her face in the middle of the playground

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Adobe is reportedly releasing a full version of Photoshop on the iPad in 2019 – Yahoo Finance UK

Yahoo Finance UK Adobe is reportedly releasing a full version of Photoshop on the iPad in 2019 Yahoo Finance UK Adobe's mobile strategy thus far has been to release several apps bearing the Photoshop name that include select features of the desktop application. Photoshop Express includes a ... Image: screenshot jake krol/ mashable . The current landscape of Adobe ... Adobe to Launch Photoshop for iPad in Strategy Shift Bloomberg all 104 news articles »

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FCC looks to revamp children’s media rules, but advocates cry foul

One of the FCC’s many jobs as a media regulator is to make sure there is adequate time being dedicated by broadcasters to educational content for kids. As the media landscape changes, however, so too should the regulations — and the FCC is looking to update its “Kid Vid” rules for the 21st century. But the agency’s proposal is half-baked, warn some advocates. This latest move, one of several in the FCC’s so-called “modernizing media regulation” efforts, got its start back in January, when Commissioner Michael O’Rielly wrote a blog post explaining why he felt it was high time children’s television regulations were revisited. The chief reason for this was essentially that with the plethora of different avenues by which kids can reach educational media these days, it doesn’t make sense to have regulations requiring broadcasters to have 30-minute shows making up at least 3 hours of content per week. Why not shorter format stuff? Why not let programs on Netflix and Hulu count? Why not allow sub-channels to carry that content instead of main channels? They’re good questions. Following this post, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asked O’Rielly to head up a review of the rules and propose changes. And today the FCC votes on whether that proposal should be made official. (To be clear, it would then have to be formalized, opened for comment and voted on again later to take effect.) Does it seem like they skipped a step? Perhaps the step where they answer those questions listed above? You’re not the only one who thinks so. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or NPRM, raises all kinds of questions: Are kids really consuming more content on other platforms?

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In the public sector, algorithms need a conscience

Brian Brackeen Contributor Share on Twitter Brian Brackeen is the chief executive officer of the facial recognition software developer Kairos . More posts by this contributor Facial recognition software is not ready for use by law enforcement In a recent MIT Technology Review article , author Virginia Eubanks discusses her book Automating Inequality. In it, she argues that the poor are the testing ground for new technology that increases inequality— highlighting that when algorithms are used in the process of determining eligibility for/allocation of social services, it creates difficulty for people to get services, while forcing them to deal with an invasive process of personal data collection. I’ve spoken a lot about the dangers associated with government use of face recognition in law enforcement, yet, this article opened my eyes to the unfair and potentially life threatening  practice of refusing or reducing support services to citizens who may really need them — through determinations based on algorithmic data. To some extent, we’re used to companies making arbitrary decisions about our lives — mortgages, credit card applications, car loans, etc. Yet, these decisions are based almost entirely on straight forward factors of determination — like credit score, employment, and income. In the case of algorithmic determination in social services, there is bias in the form of outright surveillance in combination with forced PII share imposed upon recipients. Eubanks gives as an example the Pittsburgh County Office of Children, Youth and Families using the Allegheny Family Screening Tool (AFST) to assess the risk of child abuse and neglect through statistical modeling. The use of the tool leads to disproportionate targeting of poor families because the data fed to the algorithms in the tool often comes from public schools, the local housing authority, unemployment services, juvenile probation services, and the county police, to name just a few — basically, the data of low-income citizens who typically use these services/interact with them regularly. Conversely, data from private services such as private schools, nannies, and private mental health and drug treatment services — isn’t available. Determination tools like AFST equate poverty with signs of risk of abuse, which is blatant classism— and a consequence of the dehumanization of data. Irresponsible use of AI in this capacity, like that of its use in law enforcement and government surveillance, has the real potential to ruin lives. Taylor Owen, in his 2015 article titled  The Violence of Algorithms , described a demonstration he witnessed by intelligence analytics software company Palantir, and made two major points in response — the first being that oftentimes these systems are written by humans, based on data tagged and entered by humans, and as a result are “chock full of human bias and errors.” He then suggests that these systems are increasingly being used for violence. “What we are in the process of building is a vast real-time, 3-D representation of the world.

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Winnie raises $4 million to make parents’ lives easier

An app that has the needs of modern-day parents in mind, Winnie , has now raised $4 million in additional seed funding in a round led by Reach Capital. Other investors in the new round include Rethink Impact, Homebrew, Ludlow Ventures, Afore Capital, and BBG Ventures, among others. With the new funds, Winnie has raised $6.5 million to date. The San Francisco-based startup, which begun its life as a directory of kid-friendly places largely serving the needs of newer parents, has since expanded to become a larger platform for parents. Winnie was founded by Bay Area technologists, Sara Mauskopf, who spent time at Postmates, Twitter, YouTube and Google, and Anne Halsall, also from Postmates and Google, as well as Quora and Inkling. As new parents themselves, they built Winnie out a personal need to find the sort of information parents crave – details you can’t easily dig up in Google Maps or Yelp. For example, you can use Winnie to find nearby kid-friendly destinations like museums or parks, as well as those that welcome children with features like changing tables in restrooms, wide aisles in stores for stroller access, areas for nursing, and other things. "Babies are people too, and they deserve a designated clean bathroom space just like the rest of us." https://t.co/Ps8egQcDLL — Winnie (@Winnie) June 5, 2018 Winnie serves as a good example of what investing in women can achieve. Somehow, the young, 20-something men that receive the lion’s share of VC funding had never thought up the idea of app that helps new parents navigate the world. (I know, shocking, right?) And yet, the kind of questions that Winnie tries to answer are those that all parents, at some point, are curious about. The data on Winnie is crowd-sourced, with details, ratings and reviews coming from other real parents. Listings in San Francisco may be more fleshed out than elsewhere, as that’s where Winnie got its start. However, the app is now available in 10,000 cities across the U.S., and has just surpassed over a million users. In more recent months, Winnie has been working to expand beyond being a sort of “Yelp for parents,” and now features an online community where parents can ask questions and participate in discussions. “The crowdsourced directory of family-friendly businesses is still a huge component of what we do…and this has grown to over 2 million places across the United States,” notes Winnie co-founder and CEO Sara Mauskopf

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Amazon FreeTime Unlimited finally lands on Apple’s App Store

Five and half years after it launched , one of the more popular apps for kids’ reading and entertainment has finally arrived on the iOS. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, the e-commerce giant’s subscription service for children 3-12 that gives unlimited access to 10,000 books, movies and TV shows for $2.99 per month for up to four users across tablets, phones, e-readers, and smart speakers, is now available on the App Store . Apple is promoting the new app at the moment on the home page of the App Store, where a reader saw it and flagged it to us. “We launch new products and features as they’re ready,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “We’re excited to bring the  FreeTime  Unlimited experience to iOS devices, including iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.” FreeTime Unlimited is already available on Amazon devices and on Android. Now, when users sign up for a subscription on any one platform, they can use it across all of them — whether it be a Fire tablet, a Fire Kids Edition tablet, compatible Android phones and tablets, or compatible Echo devices. The move is a significant one both for Apple and Amazon. At a time when other media companies are launching kid-friendly versions of their services that bring in more parental controls and better filters to help block out content that is inappropriate for young ones, FreeTime Unlimited has proven to be one of the most popular kids-focused entertainment apps of them all — content includes video from Disney, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, PBS Kids, National Geographic and Amazon Originals for Kids — and yet it wasn’t available on one of the most popular (and well reviewed ) tablets used by children. While Amazon initially kept it as an Amazon-only product for its early years — as a way of driving more sales to its own hardware — last year it finally launched a version for Android devices, but it’s taken over a year more to finally bring it to iPhone and iPad devices. One of the reasons for this could be the ongoing struggle between Amazon and Apple. In some regards, the two are complementary companies: Amazon ships a lot of Apple products, and iOS is a very strong platform for Amazon in terms of online sales, for example

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Over a hundred pages’ worth of complaints from Coinbase customers to a California regulator and the SEC show a firm that was ill-equipped for its own…

Jack Morse / Mashable : Over a hundred pages' worth of complaints from Coinbase customers to a California regulator and the SEC show a firm that was ill-equipped for its own success   —  Life savings lost.  Desperate cries for help.  Allegations of fraud.  —  In the six years since its founding …

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Instagram debuts IGTV, a hub for high-profile creators, and says it will begin letting users upload videos up to an hour long, up from previous one…

Josh Constine / TechCrunch : Instagram debuts IGTV, a hub for high-profile creators, and says it will begin letting users upload videos up to an hour long, up from previous one minute limit   —  Instagram is ready to compete head on with YouTube.  Today at a flashy event in San Francisco, the company announced …

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