YouTube may soon let you donate directly to fundraisers

YouTube is giving creators more ways to fundraise with a bunch of new tools it announced today. Still in beta, the group of tools is called YouTube Giving, and it includes options for fundraisers, community fundraisers, campaign matching, and Super Chat for Good.

The fundraisers feature lets fans donate to campaigns started by creators through a donate button. While the features are only open to a few creators so far, a fundraiser you can currently donate to is the Hope for Paws Fundraiser, which raises funds for animal rescue and recovery. YouTube says it’s covering transaction fees during the beta period, but it doesn’t specify if there will be fees once the feature fully goes live.

Another beta feature lets multiple creators host the same fundraiser and have the cause displayed on their videos at the same time.

Creators will also be able to match the amounts received in a feature called campaign matching. Finally, YouTube is rolling out a variation of Super Chat called Super Chat for Good, which basically sends all user donations during a live stream to a nonprofit picked by the creator.

Some YouTubers are already involved in charity efforts through GoFundMe and other sites, so this looks like an effort from YouTube to add more functionality onto its platform and keep creators from migrating onto different services.

YouTube deletes Alex Jones’ channel for violating its community guidelines

YouTube moved on Monday to delete the Alex Jones Channel for violating its community guidelines, the latest in a string of moves from tech giants that could dramatically limit the reach of the Infowars host and conspiracy theorist. The move was the latest in a cascade of platform moves against Jones, following related bans from Apple, Spotify, and Facebook.

Platforms have been under pressure to take action against Jones, who has millions of followers across their networks, after he repeatedly posted videos containing hate speech and child endangerment.

On July 24th, Jones received a strike on his channel after posting videos that contained hate speech against Muslim and transgender people and footage of a child being shoved to the ground. As a result of the strike, Jones was prohibited from using his channel to conduct live broadcasts for 90 days. But he continued to live stream on other platforms, leading YouTube to terminate his account.

In a statement, YouTube said Jones had violated its terms of service and community guidelines. “When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.”

Taken together, the platform bans against Jones represented a stunning reversal for the tech platforms, which, until now, have defended the rights of Jones and other conspiracy peddlers to continue posting in the name of free speech. YouTube has faced ongoing criticism that its recommendation algorithms have created an outsized number of new followers for conspiracy sites.

Jones told The Washington Post that the termination of his accounts across multiple platforms today was “a counter-strike against the global awakening.” “You’re on the wrong side of history mainstream media,” he said. “You sold the country out, and now you’re going to pay for it.”

YouTube will produce original shows for viewers in Mexico, India, Japan, and more

YouTube is making more original shows for international markets like Japan, France, India, Germany, and Mexico, an executive told Reuters last Friday. The move comes as YouTube looks for more paying subscribers in less saturated markets for its YouTube Premium service (formally known as YouTube Red).

YouTube plans to make music documentaries, scripted shows, reality shows, and talk shows all produced in local languages, the platform’s global head of original programming Susanne Daniels said. Most will be premium subscriber content, while some will available to watch for free. Specific titles and details will be announced in coming weeks.

While YouTube has been making original shows since 2016 to compete with Netflix and Hulu, the new push is notable for its focus on international markets. Daniels explained YouTube’s reasoning was that those markets “have a tremendous upside in potential subscribers.”

YouTube has found receptive audiences by making content that’s specific to a community’s interest, targeting formats that work well in individual markets. For example, a Hindi-language talk show about cricket in India has performed well, and a K-pop-themed reality show focused on veteran band Big Bang found viewership within and outside of South Korea, the company says.

YouTube’s website now supports vertical videos without black bars

YouTube will now display vertical videos on desktop without black bars on the side. It rolled out an update to its desktop player on Friday to automatically adjust the video’s aspect ratio to suit a computer’s screen size. It’s a feature that had already come to mobile on iOS and Android by removing black bars on small videos in favor of white space or an expanded video if possible.

Videos in standard 16:9, vertical videos, and in the older 4:3 format will all be affected. The update makes YouTube’s support for other aspect ratios besides 16:9 more friendly and more in line with its rival platforms where shooting on mobile doesn’t render black bars.

YouTube first announced the update on Friday through user forums, as spotted by Android Police, and so far, the response has mostly been unfavorable. Days later, users have been complaining that the update makes videos even smaller, cutting off parts of the video or lowering the quality. One user wrote that her video was wider than 640 x 480 but it was forced into a 640 x480 screen, cutting off the video and lowering its quality: “Some YouTube videos just don’t look good when the screen is big. Either give us a way to opt out of this, or fix it.”

We’ve reached out to Google to see if the feature will be further updated to fix these issues.