Friday, November 22, 2019

Dear FTC: Please LISTEN TO ME!

(My letter to the FTC protesting the absurd, destructive new policies which YouTube is trying to force on its creators. I just can't shut up about this! It's an example of an almost Kafka-esque bureaucracy for bureaucracy's sake. I've had a channel for over 10 years, posted 1750 videos, and can't stop now. I've broken this long screed up into pieces, with my usual, appropriate visual aids from Fritz Lang's nightmarish cinematic vision, Metropolis.)

"I wish to protest against the new FTC/COPPA restrictions which YouTube will soon be passing down to their creators. Under these new restrictions, channels that endeavour to make high-quality content for kids will no longer be able to earn an income OR have their videos accessible to subscribers (due to very tight restrictions on all the features needed to allow their videos to be seen). 

Thus kid-oriented channels will be hamstrung by the very regulations which were originally intended to keep kids SAFE on YouTube. Because kids will no longer have access to their favorite high-quality kids' channels, I believe they are MORE likely go to adult-oriented content which may be inappropriate and even harmful. 

The specifications which must be applied in evaluating the correct category for our videos are EXTREMELY vague and virtually impossible to apply. If we differ from YouTube in our choice of category, which in YouTube's case is done by robots, we can be fined up to $42,000.00 PER VIDEO. 

Most YouTubers are extremely concerned about kid safety, but we CANNOT provide age-appropriate, high-quality content for kids if we have our income and all our features taken away. This has caused tremendous anxiety in the YouTube community, and the only direction we have received from YouTube if we wish to protest this potential meltdown is to "consult a lawyer". 

I am a grandmother of four and have been posting videos featuring my hobbies, collections, nature videos, family celebrations, etc. for 12 years. I am not monetized, but if I lose my channel, I will literally lose 12 years of family history and creative satisfaction. That door will likely be closed to me forever. 

YouTubers pour heart and soul into their work, and their channels are an intrinsic part of their identity. This could be the equivalent of mass firings or layoffs, for no reason that will help child safety whatsoever. PLEASE rethink this, talk to as many YouTubers as you possibly can, watch as many videos in as many categories as possible, utilize REAL people and not algorithms/bots, and try to work with YouTube to come up with something which is possible to comprehend/apply and respectful to creators. 

Without creators, there is no YouTube. With so many people going out of business, you will see a mass exodus. In effect, it could end YouTube as we know it. Surely this was not the original intent! I believe it's within your power to save the situation and make it work better for EVERYONE involved. I ask you to take another look at this entire issue, and work with YouTube AND creators to come up with regulations which make sense, actually DO protect children, and allow this whole vibrant, enthusiastic community of YouTube creators to continue." 

Your Comment Tracking Number: 1k3-9dfc-sdm7

Monday, November 18, 2019

YOUTUBE PANIC! Fines, threats, and the fear of extinction

There is mass panic in YouTubeland, and I can see why. Suddenly everything has changed, and creators are facing the fear of huge fines, slashing of incomes, and/or deletion of accounts. And yes, this DOES affect me. Though I am not monetized, I have had my channel for 12 years and have posted almost 2000 videos, FAR more than most monetized users. And each and every one of those videos (which YouTube could delete at a click) has deep personal meaning for me.

I have been writing and writing about this in my journal. This is very long and wordy, but I will post it anyway, in case someone out there is as confused as I am. (Please note! In an awful stroke of un-luck, Blogger just deleted the entire edited version of this post, but I backed it up in rough form.)

First, this is what Wikipedia has to say about the matter:

COPPA violations

In April 2018, a coalition of 23 groups (including the CCFC, CDD, as well as Common Sense Media) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, alleging that YouTube collected information from users under the age of 13 without parental consent, in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

In September 2019, YouTube was fined $170 million by the FTC for collecting personal information from minors (in particular, viewing history) without parental consent, in order to serve targeted advertising. In particular, the FTC ruled that YouTube was partly liable under COPPA, as the service's rating and curation of content as being suitable for children constituted the targeting of the website towards children. In order to comply with the settlement, YouTube was ordered to "develop, implement, and maintain a system for Channel Owners to designate whether their Content on the YouTube Service is directed to Children." YouTube also announced that it would invest $100 million over the next three years to support the creation of "thoughtful, original children's content".

YouTube began to introduce the required policies in December 2019: all channels must either declare the entirety of their content as being directed towards children or not, or do so on an individual basis per-video. Beginning in January 2020, videos marked as being targeted towards children will have reduced functionality. These videos will display contextual advertising based on the video's metadata, rather than targeted to the user. Community features such as end boards and other widgets, notification functions, and comments are also disabled. The FTC settlement places the burden on channel operators to correctly classify their videos (with a threat of a fine of $42,000 per-video). YouTube stated that it would also use machine learning to enforce these rules. Uploaders will not be allowed to appeal automatic decisions of this nature. These policies have faced criticism by the service's community, due to the ambiguous nature of YouTube's explanation of the new policy, and the legal risks associated with them.

(Please note! It isn't December 2019 yet. So either Wikipedia is written by time travellers, or they can't be bothered to update this big lumbering thing once December actually rolls around.)

Blogger's/YouTuber's reflections. This YouTube thing, I don’t know. There’s a lot of misinformation flying around, with a number of “don’t worry”s which are even more misleading. December 10 is the day of reckoning. The “disabling comments on videos containing minors” a few months ago was a complete bust. It was totally random, though small channels got the worst of it. Mine was scattershot, but ALL of the disabled ones featured dolls! Yes, dolls, with no human presence at all except a voiceover, and the videos were meant not for kids but for vintage (adult!) doll collectors. In other words, an algorithm isn't a very efficient way to analyze content. And that is what scares me half to death.

The whole thing is a hot mess, but kids’ channel creators are the ones who are really scrambling. Everyone is afraid of YT now because they’re holding that $43,000.00 fine over everyone's head. No one is spelling out if it means anything for the non-monetized, but it probably does. I just don’t want to lose my nearly 2000 videos posted over 12 years! But if my channel is seen as ambiguous, problematic or just not popular enough, it may be dropped. They have that power. It all comes down to perceived financial worth.

I was alarmed what happened to PizzaFlix, a highly-rated, award-winning vintage movie channel which has always been one of my favourites. For no reason anyone can ascertain, it was abruptly canned, with an awful form letter stating, "We realize this is tough news, but. . . " Though I wonder. . . it mentioned not complying with YT standards. What does THAT mean? The creator may not have been totally forthcoming. He said all his stuff was copyright-free, but that can be extremely tricky, as I found out myself.

I know I should just leave it, because all my comments on YT may even be hurting me. People are going on there and crying! I can’t go over 2000 videos and designate each one as “for kids” or “for adults”, but I may be forced to do just that. In most cases, they were made for a general audience, but "intent" means nothing here. In fact, YouTube has made a public statement that you must choose between those two immutable categories for each and every video you have ever posted.

The only middle ground was taking each video separately, which I finally chose as the only option with any leeway. But that may mean 2000 agonizing decisions based on almost no information. And if YT doesn't agree with how I label them, I will likely just be canned. For example, if I say a video is "for adults" and the algorithm decides you've featured or even mentioned a toy or game or movie or song or costume that MIGHT appeal to children, or if a kid appears somewhere in your video, even by accident, you can be fined $43,000.00 for breaking the law. The original video from YT "explaining" all this to creators kept saying, if you have any questions about all this (or if you want to contest it), "CONSULT A LAWYER."

As usual, the “biggies” with many millions of subscribers and views are above all this and won’t suffer at all. But middling channels may lose their livelihood. And I might be canned and all my videos deleted at a stroke, because I am not financially viable. But the thing is, YT puts all sorts of restrictions on ads, then tells people they’re being terminated for not being commercially viable! And nowhere is it ever spelled out HOW MUCH you have to earn to BE commercially viable.

It’s impossible to tell what you’re supposed to be doing. Some response videos are angry, some are outright rants, some are scared, some placating and nervous and tip-toeing around to suck up to the beast (when protesting to the FCC, they plead with us to "be polite!"), some reassuring (and those are the worst!). Don’t worry, folks! Don’t be so panicky! What’s the matter with you? But then there’s PizzaFlix, which will soon sink into oblivion for no known reason. It seems to me that YT should be revamping its system, but that would be too much work, so it won’t – it's easier to just throw creators under the bus to save their own ass.

I never thought this would happen, but right now I have to think of my mental health. I put a statement in my channel description that my videos are made for a general audience, but I am not at all sure it was wise because that category no longer exists! If I am seen to be contesting the rules. . . It’s hard to put all this aside, but right now I have to. Is it worth it? Yes, it is! Two thousand memories, two thousand joyous creative experiences, two thousand big chunks of family history, birthdays, dance competitions, Taekwondo exams, animations, troll celebrations (which are “dolls” and suddenly "for kids" now!) - gone forever. It's scary, and right now I feel completely powerless. Logic would say that they would just hand my material back to me, but it will be deleted entirely unless this bizarre situation changes, and fast.

Friday, November 15, 2019

More troll stop-motion gifs!

BLOGGER'S NOTE: I am, I really AM working on a serious post for this blog, about the common points/affinities between legends Oscar Levant  and Dorothy Parker. I've been obsessed with both of them for years, and after re-reading the Levant bio, I just have to write something about this. They knew each other well, as it turned out, and liked each other a lot,  though it's doubtful they had too many deep conversations. They didn't have to, because they "got"  each other on a very deep level, which is never more profoundly shared than in the valley of intractible pain. I made notes on a little piece of lined paper in the car,  stuck a few sticky-notes on top of that, typed it in point form on my Word program, and that's as far as I've got it -  but meantime, enjoy my dancing trolls.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

I'm STILL looking for Stone Phillips.

Stone Phillips used to be HUGE. He was even mentioned in Nutty Professor II by Grandma Klump (played, like all the characters, by Eddy Murphy). Ms. Klump apparently had a thing for Stone. But that was so very long ago!

He got canned from Dateline NBC in 2007, and then - gonzo! I went back for a re-check today, and all I could find was rehashed bits of what we already know (which is, basically, nothing). His website, which promises to keep us all up to date on everything, has only a few posts on two topics, and I can't find dates on them. Nothing new since 2017, certainly. YouTube has only snippets of interviews he did in the 1990s.

Like Ann Curry, he was brought low, and hasn't made much of a rebound.

I keep finding this piece, however, which I love, and which is obviously a bad translation from some other language. I love bad translations from some other language more than life itself, so even though I may have posted this on my FIRST search for Stone Phillips in 2017, I feel I must run it again. Plus it's actually all I can find.

Where is Stone Phillips Recently? Any Mark Of Him in 2017? Is He Married Or Dating Someone? Find More About His Career, Relationships, And Much More

Being a public figure, a person is committed to dragging people towards his profession and personal life. As people are different and so their view, all the stars have various views regarding talking about their personal life. Not every celebrity likes sharing their personal life and prefer screening it with their profession. The veteran American television reporter Stone Phillips is also one of those leading lights who always kept his career before his personal life.

Stone is famous as the former co-anchor of Dateline NBC Stone. As Stone has now disappeared after some groundbreaking reports. Has he retired or are there any traces of him in 2017? Scroll to find where is he currently. And also let’s dig a little much in his personal life.

Where is Stone Phillips currently?

Stone Phillips has become one of the most capable and baffled reporters with a number of groundbreaking news. But now who would have assumed that he would leave someday with no any marks?

Stone has provided some of the most difficult interviews of the time to the shows like Dateline NBC and 20/20. But after he disappeared, he hasn’t shown any hint about his comeback now. He neither has declared his retirement nor has shared his plans of coming back as an expert reporter.

However, according to his Twitter bio, he worked with PBS station in a documentary Moving With Grace. Sixty-two-year-old Stone Phillips earlier worked as ABC News reporter for World News Tonight and 20/20.

Afterward, he joined NBC where he is known for resembling as a fill-in anchor for Today and NBC Nightly News. He is also known for making his presence as a substitute moderator on Meet the Press.

However, it is believed that he had been receiving a pleasant salary from his profession. Though he has been hiding his net worth for a long time. Yet he never disclosed, his net worth is believed to be in millions.

Relationship Details of the former anchor Stone Phillips

American reporter Stone Phillips was born on December 2, 1954. He was born to parents Victor and Grace Phillips in Texas City, Texas. Stone. He grew up with his brother Victor III and sister Minta. Stone was an acolyte at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church as a boy.

He visited Parkway West High School where he was a starting quarterback on the football team. For the graduation, he went to Yale University where he won the Ivy League football championship as starting quarterback for the Yale Bulldogs squad. He graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in the year 1977.

Going through Stone’s personal life, he is married to Debra Del Toro-Phillips. Stone’s wife Debra is known as one of the successful persons in the fashion industry. She also has received a master’s degree in social work.

The couple together is blessed with a son named Streeter Phillips who was born in 1988. They had a daughter too who was born in August 1995. But unfortunately, she passed away the same day of her birth. 

During his long journey towards to very successful career, he hasn’t much opened up about his personal life. As Stone has always been keeping his person behind the curtains, there is no more information about his wife and children.