Lawmakers Call YouTube Kids ‘Wasteland of Vapid, Consumerist Content’

The US sub-committee on economic and consumer policy sent a letter [PDF] to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki about its app for kids, saying it’s full of “inappropriate… highly commercial content”.

According to the letter, some videos appeared to be “smuggling in hidden marketing and advertising with product placements by children’s influencers”.

The letter claimed that one research team, which it did not name, found only about 4% of videos had a high educational value. Much of the rest was low quality content such as toy unboxing and videos of people playing video games.

YouTube Hashtag Landing Pages Now Available to All Users

YouTube made hashtag landing pages available to all users on Tuesday, Techcrunch reported. Although these operate differently from how they do on other social networks, they still provide another way for users to find content, and creators to get eyeballs.

Going forward, when you click on a hashtag on YouTube, you’ll be taken to a dedicated landing page that contains only videos that are using the hashtag. This page is also sorted to keep the “best” videos at the top, YouTube claimed. The ranking algorithm, however, may need some work as it’s currently surfacing an odd mix of both newer and older videos and seems to be heavily dominated by Indian creator content, in several top categories. The result, then, is not the equivalent to something like a hashtag search on a social network like Facebook or Twitter, for example, where more recent content gets top billing. For that reason, it may be difficult to use these hashtag landing pages for discovery of new videos to watch, as intended, but could still serve as an interesting research tool for creators looking to better leverage the hashtag format.

YouTube Updates iOS App to Support HDR Video on iPhone 12 Range

The YouTube iOS app now supports HDR video on the iPhone 12 range. As iMore noted, the video-sharing platform has supported such video for a while but needs to update the app every time a new device is released.

While YouTube has offered HDR support for iPhones since the arrival of iPhone X, the app does require an update every time a new device is released. That’s less than ideal but, thankfully, YouTube seems to be pretty on the ball and gets the updates out relatively quickly. It did take a few weeks last year, though. The newly updated YouTube is available as a free download from the App Store right now. Not that you’d know what to expect from the release notes! ‘Fixed bugs, improved performance, explored the edges of the known universe.’