YouTube has been criticized often in recent weeks for hosting content created by radical actors, and has also been censured for how it has handled this criticism.
The video sharing giant’s policies on harassment and hate speech and its enforcement of these policies faced public scrutiny last week after Vox journalist and YouTube host Carlos Maza expressed his frustration with ongoing personal attacks he has faced from popular fellow YouTuber Steven Crowder.
Since I started working at Vox, Steven Crowder has been making video after video “debunking” Strikethrough. Every single video has included repeated, overt attacks on my sexual orientation and ethnicity. Here’s a sample: pic.twitter.com/UReCcQ2Elj
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) May 31, 2019
After viewing the supercut of a few of Crowder’s comments, many — including Vox’s editor-in-chief Lauren Williams and its head of video Joe Posner — questioned why YouTube allowed Crowder’s videos to remain on its site, noting that the streaming service’s rules explicitly state videos that are “deliberately posted in order to humiliate someone” are not allowed. The platform’s community guidelines also state that users cannot make “hurtful and negative personal comments/videos about another person.”
YouTube officials responded to these questions with a series of decisions, as was explained in Recode Daily:
First, on Tuesday, the company said a series of videos in which the conservative media figure Steven Crowder calls Maza homophobic slurs didn’t violate its policies. Then, under public pressure, YouTube said on Wednesday it would temporarily demonetize Crowder’s channel. That didn’t resolve tensions either, as The Verge’s Elizabeth Lopatto writes: “YouTube’s policies have satisfied no one in this very public debacle.” By Wednesday night, the company published a blog post explaining its reasoning for keeping up the videos but promised to take a “hard look at our harassment policies with an aim to update them.”
A number of Google (which owns YouTube) employees spoke anonymously with The Verge’s Megan Farokhmanesh, and said the company’s handling of the issues Maza raised reflect how the company has dealt with the concerns of marginalized communities internally and externally.
“Internal outreach to executives has not been effective in years,” one employee said. “They ignore us completely unless there is extreme unrest. We can’t trust them anymore to listen in good faith.”
Another described YouTube’s decision to leave up Crowder’s videos as “the latest in a long series of really, really shitty behavior and double-talking on the part of my employer as pertains to anything to do with queer shit.”
Crowder and creators of similar content draw a large audience to YouTube, and that audience brings in money through advertising. Kevin Roose, a reporter for the New York Times, sought to understand how creators like Crowder win fans, and over the course of his reporting, found that YouTube may help to radicalize viewers through its algorithms.
Roose followed one man — Caleb Cain, now 26 — who, as he put it, “fell down the alt-right rabbit hole” and became a viewer of videos like Crowder’s.
Cain discovered the alt-right movement on YouTube while seeking community after dropping out of college; he shared a download of his YouTube history (comprised of more than 12,000 videos and 2,500 searches) with Roose that illustrated how he became steeped in far-right ideology.
Cain began watching self-help videos in 2014. At that time, he identified as a liberal, and stumbled upon the work of Stefan Molyneux; in addition to producing videos containing life advice, Molyneux also creates videos with social and political commentary, arguing for increased men’s rights and a return to the sort of gender politics that were common in previous centuries.
“He was willing to address young men’s issues directly, in a way I’d never heard before,” Cain told Roose.
As he watched more of Molyneux’s pieces, YouTube began recommending other conservative and alt-right content, which Cain watched as well. Over time, he came to internalize, identify with, and believe in the points of view expressed in both traditionally conservative and more radical videos.
“When I found this stuff, I felt like I was chasing uncomfortable truths,” Cain said. “I felt like it was giving me power and respect and authority.”
Roose writes that experts he spoke with believe YouTube’s profit model and the algorithm responsible for serving Cain and others like him video after related video can inadvertently lead to radicalization: “Critics and independent researchers say YouTube has inadvertently created a dangerous on-ramp to extremism by combining two things: a business model that rewards provocative videos with exposure to advertising dollars, and an algorithm that guides users down personalized paths meant to keep them glued to their screens.”
According to Roose, videos suggested by that algorithm drive more than 70 percent of users’ time on YouTube. And it is getting better at recommending the sorts of videos that keep users watching until the end.
YouTube reportedly updated its algorithm in 2012 to promote videos viewers actually finished watching; that led to a surge in engagement, as did a 2015 change that incorporated artificial intelligence into the algorithm’s video recommendation process. In 2017, that artificial intelligence was further refined, and it learned to pull videos tangentially related to what users already liked in order to both expand their horizons and keep them watching longer.
Roose notes YouTube denies their algorithm has led users to more radical videos, but changes to it may have led Cain to a new type of video: a genre of work that employs the rhetoric and style seen in the types of alt-right content Cain had come to enjoy, but that promotes ideas of the left.
Cain found himself drawn to one creator in particular: Natalie Wynn.
“I just kept watching more and more of that content, sympathizing and empathizing with her and also seeing that, wow, she really knows what she’s talking about,” Cain told Roose.
Eventually, he was so moved by the videos of Wynn and other YouTubers like her that he rejected the alt-right philosophies he had embraced for years, and became a content creator himself, posting liberal videos of his own in the mode of the platform’s most popular alt-right figures.
Despite the rise of figures like Wynn and Cain on the platform, criticism of YouTube being used to host incendiary content remains. And the employees Farokhmanesh spoke with were not overly optimistic that things will change soon.
Senior software engineer Irene Knapp told Farokhmanesh: “The company takes half-measures, and pats itself on the back for those half-measures,” and said the problems Maza has faced “will absolutely happen again … That’s just how it goes.”
The reason alt-right figures like those Cain was for years a fan of will remain on the platform is fear, another Google employee told Farokhmanesh.
“Google and YouTube don’t want to take any action against any far-right channel for fear of stoking the far right to say they’re being persecuted,” the employee said. “But that strategy doesn’t pan out. They will never stop saying they’re persecuted.”
Internet Users Shared Their Head-Scratching Findings That Are More Like Riddles Until You Realize What They Actually Are
You can find nearly anything on the internet. And people who bump into something unusual turn to it to find answers. On Reddit, there’s a topic where users easily solve challenging riddles. They know everything about mysterious marine creatures, extraordinary tools, and exotic musical instruments.
Bright Side likes to learn more and more about this world, and internet users are ready to share their knowledge with us. Enjoy!
18. “Found these unusual scissors. They’re uncomfortable to hold, in either hand, 2 or 4 fingers.”
These are children’s training scissors for preschoolers. The extra holes are needed to let a grown-up co-scissor and help the child.
17. “What is the purpose of these mirrors? I came across them in Trosa, Sweden.”
In Sweden, these mirrors are called “Skvallerspegel” which can be translated to “gossip mirror.” In the Netherlands, they’re called Spionnetje, or “small spy.” These mirrors allow you to see what’s going on in the street from the comfort of your couch. They can be also found in Norway and Finland.
16. In Spain, why are there water bottles outside all the driveways and entrances?
Citizens use this approach to fight cats’ and dogs’ urges to mark their territory. Maybe animals don’t want to pee where they can drink water or the bottles serve as obstacles that confuse them.
15. “I found this in an old church.”
This is used to fill multiple communion cups with wine at the same time. The way this tool works is depicted in this picture created with the help of Photoshop.
14. “My girlfriend found this shell on the beach.”
13. “What is this tube full of balls in the wall?”
This is a tool that helps to detect termites at home. Its indicator lets you know if there are termites in your house.
12. An unusual tree
It’s the Agave Americana in blossom.
11. “What is this animal? This image was caught on a trail camera.”
This is a fisher, it’s a member of the mustelid family. Sometimes it’s also called “pekan.” Despite its name, the animal doesn’t always eat fish.
10. “I saw this in a shop near Manchester.”
It’s a tool that helps you get your boots on and off. The way it works is shown here. Inside the tool there are hooks that help you put your boots on.
9. “20 years of research and the internet is my last hope!”
These are the teeth of a Black Drum fish, they’re also called corbs.
8. “Found this at an antique festival near Atlanta. It’s 17” by 5.5″.”
It’s for rolling newspapers into a “log” for the fireplace.
7. I found some kind of jellyfish on the beach.
The Portuguese man o’ war (Physalia physalis) is a marine hydrozoan (invertebrate.) A big transparent bladder is filled with gas, which lets it float on the water’s surface. Its tentacles have stinging cells and the poison is dangerous for human beings.
6. “My friend found this thing in the water.”
This is an Orisha figure used in Santeria. One hand holds a snake, the other hand holds a mask. These figures are kept in water 100% of the time in accordance with the rules of the religion.
5. “Something’s falling out of the sky.”
No, it’s not a UFO. It could be a condensation trail produced by an aircraft. Contrails are composed primarily of water, in the form of ice crystals.
4. “Found this in my grandfather’s basement.”
This is called an ocarina, and it’s an ancient musical wind instrument. It’s used all over the world: in China, Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. In Europe, this instrument is more like a toy for kids.
3. “Found this figurine in the forest near my house.”
It’s a broken part of a candle holder. Though some people use it as an ashtray.
2. “I found this on the Caribbean side of Eleuthera in the Bahamas at low tide.”
It’s a sponge. They don’t have nervous, digestive, or circulatory systems. They consume oxygen, filtering water through their bodies.
1. “What is this fish for?”
Iron deficiency is a serious problem in developing countries. These fish help people get enough iron if they boil these figurines in water.
Have you ever found anything unusual?
14 Ads From Marketing Gurus Who Are at the Top of Their Game
It’s great that commercials are no longer something unbearable or something that distracts you from watching your favorite movie. Modern marketers sometimes create such amazing masterpieces that they captivate your attention and you forget that this is just something that is supposed to sell you a product.
You probably already know that the Bright Side team loves advertisements that are made by talented people. So we would like to highlight these commercials that we think you might love.
1. The IKEA designers recreated the designs of the living rooms from The Simpsons, Friends, and Stranger Things
2. Adidas inspires you to climb all the mountains.
3. BMW: More power, less consumption.
4. The National Geographic Wild channel shows predators and their prey.
5. McDonald’s is sure that children love Happy Meals because they can be eaten with their hands.
6. This is LG’s way of telling you that delicate and non-delicate fabrics can be washed together.
7. Rota Uniprag pest control will make all the bad insects leave your house.
8. This bookstore knows that some books trap you from the very first pages.
9. Burger King, for those who love grill
10. Stabilo: highlighting the most important things
11. There is no way you can miss this STIHL blower magazine ad.
12. Nivea’s way of letting you know they can help you get rid of cellulite
13. Wilkinson Sword shows us how individuality is created.
14. PlayStation is the best way to train your fingers.
Which of these commercials do you think deserves a round of applause? And we would also like to know if you have ever bought things because of good commercials or do you always try to shut down your emotions while shopping?
Preview photo credit Sony
Big Little Lies season 2, episode 2: “Tell-Tale Hearts” recap
If Big Little Lies’ second-season premiere was the calm before a storm of consequences, then the second episode, “Tell-Tale Hearts,” is a whole new maelstrom of melodrama.
This episode sees our five scheming socialites falling deeper into the web of secrets and lies that have surrounded them, as family tensions, spousal betrayals, and devastating reveals about sexual assault and domestic violence all churn to the surface. It probably shouldn’t be as fun to watch as it is, but Big Little Lies has always been pretty gleeful about its sordid affairs.
Strap in, because a lot happens in this episode.
Celeste and Bonnie are both trapped in isolating guilt spirals
“Tell-Tale Hearts” gives everyone a squalid tale to tell, and the result is that their stories spill forth almost immediately. This is partly because, as the bard once said, “Children will listen,” and all the kids of Big Little Lies have not only been listening to their parents, but also talking among themselves. The repercussions are significant, and I’m excited to watch how the sons and daughters of the group, who are now dubbed “the Monterey Five,” deal with the sins of their parents.
Celeste (Nicole Kidman) is still so plagued with guilt and tortured memories of her late husband, Perry, that she’s having trouble sleeping. But while on Ambien, she sleep-drives and crashes her car in the middle of nowhere, leaving her searching for a way to explain her behavior to Perry’s already suspicious and ever-watchful mother, Mary Louise (Meryl Streep).
While giving Celeste a lift home, Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) spots Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) walking aimlessly along the deserted highway. Bonnie’s own spiraling guilt over Perry’s death at the end of season one has left her increasingly listless and disconnected from her friends and family. While Bonnie resists Madeline’s concerned scrutiny, Celeste seems to know exactly how Bonnie feels. “That woman’s not well,” Madeline tells Celeste, ignoring the obviously unwell woman right next to her.
In another parallel with her kindred spirit Celeste, Bonnie’s emotional detachment has caused her husband, Madeline’s ex Nathan, to call in Bonnie’s mom, Elizabeth ( Crystal Fox), to come stay with them, without telling Bonnie in advance. Her mother’s arrival — and her practice of witchcraft, which leads her to do things like sneak around at night, leaving animal bones in Bonnie’s room — only escalate Bonnie’s unease and exacerbate the tensions between Bonnie and Nathan. But Elizabeth does identify the basic thing that’s wrong with her daughter, the thing no one else seems willing to say outright: She saw Perry Wright die (at the end of season one), and she’s traumatized.
Bonnie’s mom seems to be the only person willing to fully and openly discuss what’s going on under their noses. That is, apart from the kids. And when the kids start talking, the dominoes start to fall.
The spilling of one closely-held secret causes a cascade of new problems
When she’s back home, Celeste dodges Mary Louise’s questions, only to have to break up an increasingly familiar bout of violence erupting between her sons, twins Josh and Max. This time, Max hits and swears at Celeste, who reacts by pushing him away and accidentally knocking him to the ground, screaming that she won’t let Max become like his late dad. Tick another box in the obvious mental checklist — “Signs your daughter-in-law killed your son” — that Mary Louise is keeping. (Oh, and she’s making plans to rent an apartment nearby, so that she can continue to keep an eye on Celeste.)
Dire as this situation seems, it’s just the beginning of new troubles for Celeste. Josh and Max have been picking up gossip from Madeline’s younger daughter, Chloe. Thanks to Madeline’s glib discussion of her friend circle and its fraught dynamics, Chloe’s sussed out that the twins’ late dad, Perry, is also the father of another boy at their school — Ziggy, the daughter of the fourth member of the Monterey Five, Jane (Shailene Woodley). Now she’s shared the big secret with the twins and Ziggy, unbeknownst to their parents. Josh and Max have, in turn, told their grandmother about their other brother.
The repercussions of this revelation are immediately sobering. Mary Louise is understandably confused about why Celeste didn’t tell her that she has another grandchild. This means that Celeste has to tell her the truth — that Ziggy is a product of a sexual assault. Jane is also thoroughly shaken by the news that Chloe, Josh, and Max are all privy to the secret of her son’s paternity — one she had wanted to tell Ziggy herself first. She makes the difficult choice to be honest with him about how he was conceived.
Meanwhile, Madeline, in the middle of trying to scold Chloe for spreading private secrets among her classmates, runs into trouble with her own husband, Ed (Adam Scott), who’s weirdly shocked and angry that Madeline didn’t tell him about her friends’ big secret. (Ed is presumably meant to seem hurt by his wife shutting him out of her life, but he mostly just ends up looking like a giant gossip, because, as Madeline points out, he’s asking her to fill him in on her friend’s sexual assault. Not cool, Ed!) This uncomfortable moment of conflict between Madeline and Ed is rapidly overshadowed by a revelation from the elder of Madeline’s daughters: While high school senior Abigail continues her ongoing argument with her mom about why she doesn’t want to go to college, she lets slip that Madeline had a short-lived affair last year with the local theatre director … and Ed overhears her. After processing this second, more legitimate bombshell, he tells Madeline their relationship is over.
And the hits just keep coming: When Celeste tries to talk to Mary Louise about Perry’s sexual assault of Jane, Mary Louise flatly rejects the idea that her son could be capable of committing rape and labels Jane a liar. She also implies that Celeste is disloyal for believing Jane, and then goes even further by disbelieving Celeste herself when Celeste tells her that Perry has a history of domestic violence. Insisting on branding Jane’s rape an “affair,” she coaxes the confession out of Celeste that she only learned of the assault the night of Perry’s death.
This is clearly a smoking gun to Mary Louise in terms of motive. Armed with all this new circumstantial evidence and an incendiary timeline, she tells Celeste she’s going to the police to report all the secrets that Celeste has been keeping: the existence of Perry’s other son, their combative history, and Celeste’s secret plans to leave him once and for all — arrangements Celeste was making last season on the eve of Perry’s death.
This episode asks whether the family that shares its secrets can survive them
The spilling of all these secrets all tie into the episode’s overarching theme — the concept of family and what the hell that even means, anyway. “Tell-Tale Hearts” suggests that there’s ultimately not much difference between a dysfunctional family that shares its secrets and a dysfunctional family that doesn’t. In an early scene, Celeste tries to tell her sons that they can talk to her about their dad, only to have them accurately inform her that she’d rather avoid the whole subject. “I shouldn’t do that,” she admits. “Families should be open with one another.”
“I don’t think we’re that kind of family,” her son Max replies shrewdly.
He’s echoed later on by Ed, who coldly challenges Madeline’s idea that there is an “us” during their breakup. “What does that even mean?” he asks. “It can’t mean honesty, truth, or trust.”
But if this episode makes a pretty strong case that the only way to keep your household happy is to never open your mouth, it also reminds us that, even then, the truth will come out. Which brings us to the fifth and final member of the Monterey Five. Just as she’s on the cusp of national prominence, Renata (Laura Dern) finds out that her useless husband has been committing fraud — when the feds show up to arrest him. Not only that, but he’s been squandering her fortune as well as his.
Renata reacts to his confession by flying into a hilarious rage and yelling, “I will not not be rich!” This is highly relatable, and also amazing — but she still winds up bailing him out and giving him a lift home from jail, which, let’s face it, is pretty much as great a show of loyalty as this show can deliver.
So far this season, Renata has mostly popped into the unfolding drama of her friends’ lives to be busy and important, which is typical Renata. I’m intrigued to see how the show will weave her storyline back into the larger narrative, but even if it doesn’t, and Laura Dern’s job this season is to drop in and have empowered tantrums every now and then, Big Little Lies will be five-star viewing. The crime melodrama is one thing, but if you can’t have a self-aware sophisticate screaming about her right to a slice of the patriarchy, what’s the point?
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