After rolling out the next stage of its TikTok-esque ‘Shorts’ feature last week, which sees the beta version of the option now available in all regions, and making Shorts available to all US users last month, YouTube is now looking to take Shorts to the next level, as it seeks to fend off rising competition from TikTok on the short-form video front.
Today, YouTube has announced its first exclusive Shorts dance challenge, which will be tied into the launch of the new track by K-pop sensation BTS.
As per YouTube:
“Starting this Friday, anyone from across the globe can create a 15-second YouTube Short right from the YouTube mobile app, replicating the core dance moves from the “Permission to Dance” music video. The dance moves for this challenge are the “International Sign” gestures that the septet was seen doing in the music video, bearing the meaning “Joy,” “Dance” and “Peace”.
Between July 23rd and August 14th, YouTube is inviting BTS fans to post their own version of the dance moves to Shorts, with BTS then selecting some of their favorite Shorts to be included in an official compilation video. Users need to include the hashtags #PermissiontoDance and #Shorts for their creations to be considered.
Linking into BTS is a smart move by YouTube as it seeks to raise awareness of Shorts, and boost adoption with younger users.
Over the past 12 months, BTS’ videos have seen over 10 billion views on the platform, as the band continues to gain momentum, while BTS is also one of the top 5 most-viewed artists on YouTube this year.
“With 54 million subscribers on its Official Artist Channel, they are the third most-subscribed artist on YouTube. BTS has joined YouTube’s coveted billion views club on three different occasions with its hits DNA, Boy With Luv, and most recently Dynamite.”
That popularity will no doubt see more people giving this Shorts tie-in a shot, and if they subsequently have a good experience, and gain traction with their Shorts clips, that could help YouTube boost Shorts adoption, and steal some audience away from TikTok.
Which is a rising area of concern for both YouTube and Facebook collectively. TikTok has remained at the top of the app download charts for 18 months straight, and its traction with younger audiences has it well-positioned to become a key app for social media connection moving forward.
Which will see it become a bigger consideration for marketers, stealing ad dollars away from the incumbents, while also, potentially, making it a more important app in the lives of more users moving forward.
We all know what happened when the youth switched from MySpace to Facebook, and Facebook is keen to avoid becoming past-tense, which is why both platforms are pushing to combat TikTok’s rise in any way that they can.
YouTube’s connection with BTS may be the best idea yet on this front, and while it likely won’t see Shorts steal a heap of TikTok’s thunder, it will increase awareness of the tool, and give it a better shot at winning out.
And if YouTube can also highlight its reach and monetization benefits to creators, that could end up delivering a bigger blow to TikTok, in the longer term.
Twitter Implements New Rules to Further Restrict Misinformation in Times of Crisis
Twitter’s looking to do more to limit the spread of harmful misinformation via its platform, with the implementation of a new policy that will specifically restrict the amplification of misinformation in times of crisis, including armed conflict, civil unrest and more.
The policy has been developed in response to the invasion of Ukraine, with Twitter now looking to enshrine its Ukraine policies in its official guidelines.
As explained by Twitter:
“Around the world, people use Twitter to find reliable information in real time. During periods of crisis – such as situations of armed conflict, public health emergencies, and large-scale natural disasters – access to credible, authoritative information and resources is all the more critical.”
In these circumstances, Twitter will now work faster to hide potentially harmful claims behind a warning screen, while such claims also won’t be amplified in the Home timeline, Search, and/or Explore.
As you can see here, users will be required to click through the warning notice to view these tweets, while Likes, Retweets, and Shares will be disabled.
Expanding on this, Twitter says that it will also prioritize adding warning notices to highly visible Tweets and Tweets from high profile accounts, ‘such as state-affiliated media accounts, verified, official government accounts.’ The new policy will only relate to situations in which there is a /widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence’.
So how will Twitter determine what’s true or false in rapid time?
Twitter says that it will verify information via credible, publicly available sources, ‘including evidence from conflict monitoring groups, humanitarian organizations, open-source investigators, journalists, and more’.
Sure, that should appease the free speech advocates who already feel that social platforms base their decisions on political agendas. Wonder what Elon thinks of this?
In principle, of course, Twitter’s policy makes perfect sense – harmful misinformation and propaganda can have damaging impacts, in many ways, and it shouldn’t allow such to be amplified via its app. That’s ramped up even further in times of crisis.
In conflicts of the past, military opponents have resorted to air drops of flyers to break the spirit of their opponents. Tweets, and social media posts in general, can serve the same purpose, which is why it’s important for Twitter to act.
But further moves to restrict speech, of any kind, will undoubtedly be met with criticism.
Twitter says that, under this new policy, it will add warning notices to
- False coverage or event reporting, or information that mischaracterizes conditions on the ground as a conflict evolves
- False allegations regarding use of force, incursions on territorial sovereignty, or around the use of weapons
- Demonstrably false or misleading allegations of war crimes or mass atrocities against specific populations
- False information regarding international community response, sanctions, defensive actions, or humanitarian operations
It could be a difficult policy to enforce, depending on the conflict and region, so while it is a good update, and again, one that makes sense, it may be perceived as biased by those restricted as a result.
And it does seem that it could, at some stage, backfire, with correct information hidden due to the platform’s rapid action – but then again, that may be worth the risk if it ends up saving lives in the majority.
But you do have to wonder what incoming CEO and owner Elon Musk thinks of such. Musk has been a vocal advocate of free speech, and this seems to be skirting the line of what Musk may see as overstepping. We’ll find out once the deal goes through.
Twitter says that this first iteration of its updated policy is focused on international armed conflict, starting with the war in Ukraine, but it will eventually be expanded to include additional forms of crisis.
“The policy will supplement our existing work deployed during other global crises, such as in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and India.”
Again, it’ll be interesting to see what Musk thinks, and whether this policy is fully enacted in the Elon era for the app.
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