Wednesday Wrap-Up #491

Nick Carolan

YouTube Shorts rolls out globally
Look out TikTok, YouTube Shorts is making moves. First launched in India last year, the feature is now available around the world. For creators, Shorts has the exciting offering of YouTube’s massive library of audio content, which can be inserted into their short-form videos. Other than that, the feature is remarkably similar to TikTok, boasting timers, countdowns, filters and effects. With TikTok now branching out to include longer-form videos, it’ll be interesting to see if Shorts succeeds or *ahem* falls short.

YouTube adds creator tip jar, Super Thanks
YouTube is adding another way for creators to earn money: Super Thanks, a feature that lets fans send cash to their favourite creators. Previously called ‘Applause’ in beta testing, Super Thanks will roll-out to “thousands” of creators in 68 countries on desktop and Android and iOS mobile devices this week. Users will be able to donate money to creators in four amounts (which vary by market). Fans who make a Super Thanks purchase will see an animated GIF and a comment with their donation amount will be automatically added to the comments section, where creators can respond to it. YouTube will take a 30% cut of the revenue generated from Super Thanks.

Clubhouse ventures beyond audio with Backchannel
DMs have arrived on Clubhouse, giving users an alternative to its audio offering. The platform has named the new feature ‘Backchannel,’ with the system offering both one-on-one messaging and group chat. Speakers can organise it in advance or coordinate live through messaging while running a Room. For those suffering from stage fright, Backchannel allows the audience to ask text-based questions, which will allow more timid users the opportunity to engage in conversation.

How to send a direct message in Clubhouse using Backchannel

Twitter shuts down Fleets
Fleets made a fleeting visit to Twitter, with the platform making the decision to shut down the feature due to low usage. Fleets were Twitter’s answer to Stories, with the feature first appearing in testing in March 2020. But unlike Stories on Snapchat and Instagram, Fleets never found its footing on the platform, with several technical glitches and a lack of virality causing its downfall. Adios, Fleets!

Twitter is letting you choose who can reply to your tweets
Fed up with your aunt leaving cringe comments on your tweets? You can now change who can reply to a tweet after you have posted it. Prior to this update, you could limit who replied to your content, but this preference had to be set while writing a tweet. To change who can reply now, click or tap the three-dot menu on a tweet and look for the option in the menu that appears. You can make it so that everyone can reply, only people you follow can reply, or only people you mention in your tweet can reply. This is bound to be handy when it comes to reducing harassment on the platform, allowing users more control over the responses and reactions to their content.

Twitter adds captions to voice tweets
We’ve seen several small wins for accessibility on social media over the past year, and now Twitter is making this a priority, by adding captions to voice tweets. Having been available for over a year now, this is undoubtedly a delayed move from the platform, which has previously drawn criticism for its lack of captions. To see captions on a tweet, you can click on the CC icon on the top-right corner of the voice tweet window. You’ll only be able to use this feature on new voice tweets, so any older content will still remain without captions.

Twitter adds captions for voice tweets

Facebook announces billion dollar creator fund
Facebook has announced plans to pay content creators more than $1 billion by the end of next year through new bonus programs designed to keep creatives plugged into its app ecosystem. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg first announced the new funding to “reward creators for great content” on his Facebook page. The company will pay creators through a series of new bonus initiatives across Facebook and Instagram, which are “seasonal, evolving and expanding over time”, with content created as part of the bonus programs housed within dedicated hubs on both apps.

Instagram introduces new controls for explicit content on ‘Explore’
Instagram has introduced a ‘Sensitive Content Control’ toggle that allows users to screen posts that it thinks could be offensive, hiding them from the app’s Explore tab. The new feature lets users choose to either allow more content that could be “upsetting or offensive,” limit that content or “limit even more.” In its announcement, Instagram clarified ‘sensitive content’ as “Posts that don’t necessarily break our rules, but could potentially be upsetting to some people – such as posts that may be sexually suggestive or violent”. Instagram’s definition of sensitive content also includes dangerous forms of content like “exaggerated health claims” and posts promoting weight loss supplements.

The Wednesday Wrap-Up features additional reporting by Hannah Currey.