After announcing its new program for hosting exclusive music video clips earlier this month, Facebook has today unveiled it’s new ‘Music Video Playlists‘ within Facebook Watch, which will increase the focus on Facebook-exclusive releases, coordinated in partnership with music labels.
As explained by Facebook:
“Today, we’re adding a new way for people to come together around music by bringing official music videos to Facebook in the US. Starting this weekend, you’ll be able to discover, watch and share music videos from today’s top artists to up-and-coming bands and classics across various music genres on Facebook.”
The new process will essentially enable publishers to maintain control over the video clips of their artists when posted to Facebook, including associated monetization. That will then give Facebook more capacity to arrange deals for such, which could lead to more musicians making Facebook a bigger focus for their releases.
And already, Facebook has a range of exclusives planned:
“In the coming weeks, we’re excited for global music video premieres happening on Facebook, including exclusive music video content from J. Balvin, Karol G, Sebastian Yatra, Alejandro Fernandez and Calibre 50. Fans can also expect the premiere of the official music video for a new track from Lele Pons on Facebook first, who will be going live in advance to connect with fans and build excitement.”
The initiative may not seem like a major deal to general consumers, but for publishers, and Facebook, it could be massive.
Music videos make up a significant portion of YouTube viewership – seven of the top 10 most viewed YouTube videos of all time are music clips from popular artists, while YouTube even developed YouTube Music to tap into the popularity of music videos on its service. But while there are clearly big benefits for YouTube in hosting music clips, publishers have questioned whether’s they’re being fairly compensated for the usage of their artists’ content on the platform, given their significance to YouTube’s overall performance.
Many in music publishing have openly called for a better deal – and with this new, more centralized model, Facebook may able to offer them exactly that.
Facebook has larger audience reach, and it could, potentially, offer publishers a much bigger share of ad revenue generated by their content, in order to get more viewers across. More exclusives on Facebook equals more viewers for Facebook Watch – and if a lot of artists end up posting their clips to Facebook only, that could end up being a big deal.
Facebook says that it’s been working with partners in India and Thailand to “build the foundation of a music video experience on Facebook”, which it’s now expanding to the US through new partnerships with Sony Music Group, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Merlin, BMG, Kobalt “and many others”.
And Facebook Watch, specifically, is the focus:
“We’re also launching a new destination for Music in Facebook Watch where you can explore music videos by genre, artist or mood, as well as themed playlists like “Hip Hop MVPs,” “Trailblazers of Pop” and “Epic Dance Videos.” You’ll also find timely playlists like “Popular This Week” and “New This Week.””
Again, if Facebook can get more people coming over to check out exclusive music clips, it can use that attention to promote other Watch shows, and build its audience. It’s not the music clips themselves that Facebook is looking to monetize, its Watch more broadly, which will enable it to provide better deas to publishers for such moving forward,
It may not seem like a big shift, as you’ve always been able to watch music clips on Facebook. But exclusives could be important, and could provide a new boost for Watch usage.
It’ll be worth noting the view counts on these exclusives, and also, whether the same clips appear on YouTube after release.
Meta’s Developing and ‘Ethical Framework’ for the Use of Virtual Influencers
With the rise of digital avatars, and indeed, fully digital characters that have evolved into genuine social media influencers in their own right, online platforms now have an obligation to establish clear markers as to what’s real and what’s not, and how such creations can be used in their apps.
The coming metaverse shift will further complicate this, with the rise of virtual depictions blurring the lines of what will be allowed, in terms of representation. But with many virtual influencers already operating, Meta is now working to establish ethical boundaries on their application.
As explained by Meta:
“From synthesized versions of real people to wholly invented “virtual influencers” (VIs), synthetic media is a rising phenomenon. Meta platforms are home to more than 200 VIs, with 30 verified VI accounts hosted on Instagram. These VIs boast huge follower counts, collaborate with some of the world’s biggest brands, fundraise for organizations like the WHO, and champion social causes like Black Lives Matter.”
At first glance, you wouldn’t necessarily realize that this is not an actual person, which makes such characters a great vehicle for brand and product promotions, as they can be utilized 24/7, and can be placed into any environment. But that also leads to concerns about body image perception, deepfakes, and other forms of misuse through false or unclear representation.
Deepfakes, in particular, may be problematic, with Meta citing this campaign, with English football star David Beckham, as an example of how new technologies are evolving to expand the use of language, as one element, for varying purpose.
The well-known ‘DeepTomCruise’ account on TikTok is another example of just how far these technologies have come, and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where they could be used to, say, show a politician saying or doing something that he or she actually didn’t, which could have significant real world impacts.
Which is why Meta is working with developers and experts to establish clearer boundaries on such use – because while there is potential for harm, there are also beneficial uses for such depictions.
“Imagine personalized video messages that address individual followers by name. Or celebrity brand ambassadors appearing as salespeople at local car dealerships. A famous athlete would make a great tutor for a kid who loves sports but hates algebra.”
Such use cases will increasingly become the norm as VR and AR technologies are developed, with these platforms placing digital characters front and center, and establishing new norms for digital connection.
It would be better to know what’s real and what’s not, and as such, Meta needs clear regulations to remove dishonest depictions, and enforce transparency over VI use.
But then again, much of what you see on Instagram these days is not real, with filters and editing tools altering people’s appearance well beyond what’s normal, or realistic. That can also have damaging consequences, and while Meta’s looking to implement rules on VI use, there’s arguably a case for similar transparency in editing tools applied to posted videos and images as well.
That’s a more complex element, particularly as such tools also enable people to feel more comfortable in posting, which no doubt increases their in-app activity. Would Meta be willing to put more focus on this element if it could risk impacting user engagement? The data on the impact of Instagram on people’s mental health are pretty clear, with comparison being a key concern.
Should that also come under the same umbrella of increased digital transparency?
It’s seemingly not included in the initial framework as yet, but at some stage, this is another element that should be examined, especially given the harmful effects that social media usage can have on young women.
But however you look at it, this is no doubt a rising element of concern, and it’s important for Meta to build guardrails and rules around the use of virtual influencers in their apps.
You can read more about Meta’s approach to virtual influencers here.
Meta Publishes New Guide to the Various Security and Control Options in its Apps
Meta has published a new set of safety tips for journalists to help them protect themselves in the evolving online connection space, which, for the most part, also apply to all users more broadly, providing a comprehensive overview of the various tools and processes that it has in place to help people avoid unwanted attention online.
The 32-page guide is available in 21 different languages, and provides detailed overviews of Meta’s systems and profile options for protection and security, with specific sections covering Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
The guide begins with the basics, including password protections and enabling two-factor authentication.
It also outlines tips for Page managers in securing their business profiles, while there are also notes on what to do if you’ve been hacked, advice for protection on Messenger and guidance on bullying and harassment.
For Instagram, there are also general security tips, along with notes on its comment moderation tools.
While for WhatsApp, there are explainers on how to delete messages, how to remove messages from group chats, and details on platform-specific data options.
There are also links to various additional resource guides and tools for more context, providing in-depth breakdowns of when and how to action the various options.
It’s a handy guide, and while there are some journalist-specific elements included, most of the tips do apply to any user, so it could well be a valuable resource for anyone looking to get a better handle on your various privacy tools and options.
Definitely worth knowing either way – you can download the full guide here.
Twitter bans account linked to Iran leader over video threatening Trump
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meets with relatives of slain commander Qasem Soleimani ahead of the second anniverary of his death in a US drone strike in Iraq – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Tom Brenner
Twitter said Saturday it had permanently suspended an account linked to Iran’s supreme leader that posted a video calling for revenge for a top general’s assassination against former US president Donald Trump.
“The account referenced has been permanently suspended for violating our ban evasion policy,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.
The account, @KhameneiSite, this week posted an animated video showing an unmanned aircraft targeting Trump, who ordered a drone strike in Baghdad two years ago that killed top Iranian commander General Qassem Soleimani.
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s main accounts in various languages remain active. Last year, another similar account was suspended by Twitter over a post also appearing to reference revenge against Trump.
The recent video, titled “Revenge is Definite”, was also posted on Khamenei’s official website.
According to Twitter, the company’s top priority is keeping people safe and protecting the health of the conversation on the platform.
The social media giant says it has clear policies around abusive behavior and will take action when violations are identified.
As head of the Quds Force, the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Soleimani was the architect of its strategy in the Middle East.
He and his Iraqi lieutenant were killed by a US drone strike outside Baghdad airport on January 3, 2020.
Khamenei has repeatedly promised to avenge his death.
On January 3, the second anniversary of the strike, the supreme leader and ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi once again threatened the US with revenge.
Trump’s supporters regularly denounce the banning of the Republican billionaire from Twitter, underscoring that accounts of several leaders considered authoritarian by the United States are allowed to post on the platform.
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