YouTube

Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are relying more heavily on automated systems to flag content that violate their rules, as tech workers were sent home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The question of how Billboard determines the most popular music in the country has gotten a lot harder in the digital age. It used to be a simple question of which album sold the most physical copies, but now Billboard needs to consider things like Spotify plays and mp3 downloads. Starting Jan. 3, it will also include YouTube streams.

NPR's Ailsa Chang talks to Chris Molanphy, a chart analyst and pop critic at Slate, about the significance of this change. Listen at the audio link and read on for an edited version of their conversation.

YouTube

In the fall of 1991, I was volunteering as a college-radio music director at the University of Wisconsin in Madison when I started telling everyone I knew about

For years, YouTube has faced flak from its critics over the video platform's anti-harassment policies. Now, the Google-owned company announced Wednesday it will take a tougher stance on content negatively targeting people based on their race, gender expression or sexual orientation.

Videos and comments with a threatening or intimidating message will be removed under the new guidelines. The policy will apply to everyone, "from private individuals, to YouTube creators, to public officials."

Updated at 11:29 a.m. ET

Google and its YouTube subsidiary will pay $170 million to settle allegations that YouTube collected personal information from children without their parents' consent, the Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday.

Google has suspended 210 YouTube channels it says were being used as part of a "coordinated" campaign to influence public opinion about the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Updated at 7:19 pm. ET

If you pull up YouTube for squirrels on water skis, the latest Taylor Swift music video or the Democratic debate Wednesday night, you'll notice something prominently displayed at the top of the page — a banner ad paid for by the Trump campaign.

President Trump's campaign is counterprogramming the debate and making a point — he is the president, running for reelection while Democrats are running against each other.

Editor's note: This story contains content that may be upsetting to some readers.

Big brands are pulling their ads off YouTube over concerns that potential sexual predators are gathering in the comment sections of videos featuring children. In response, YouTube has deleted more than 400 channels and suspended comments on tens of millions of videos as it tries to purge the system of pedophiles.

YouTube, Apple and Facebook have removed main outlets for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars website, citing repeated violations of policies against hate speech and glorifying violence. Infowars responded by accusing the companies of censorship.

The streaming service Spotify also expanded a ban imposed last week on some of Jones' content, saying Monday that "The Alex Jones Show has lost access to the Spotify platform."

On Sunday, Apple and iTunes deleted five podcasts related to Infowars and Jones. The other bans then piled up in quick succession.

Nation's Report Card: mostly flat

The 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the Nation's Report Card, showed no statistically significant changes from 2015, except for a slight uptick in 8th grade reading scores. This test is given every two years to fourth and eighth graders in reading and math. It is not high-stakes, but it is the largest single test enabling a comparison of students across the country.

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