TECH ROUNDUP: Young Pinoys Turn To Old Songs Amid Pandemic, According To Spotify; TikTok, DOT Partner For #GandaMoPinas
From YouTube’s updated policy against vaccine misinformation to a new Spotify report on the role of digital audio among Filipino youth, here are some tech reports that you may have missed this week.
Filipino youth turn to audio amid the pandemic
A new report released by audio streaming platform Spotify showed how Filipino millennials and Gen Zs are shaping culture locally and globally through their listening habits.
The Culture Next Report 2021 released on Sept. 29 showed that digital audio has become a form of escape for the youth amid the pandemic.
In the Philippines, 87% of millennials and 85% of Gen Zs agree that they use audio to reduce their stress levels.
According to the report, more Filipino millennials are listening to nostalgic playlists, with 59% and 40% increase in streams of ‘70s love songs and ‘80s hits, respectively, among this age group.
Meanwhile, 82% of Filipino Gen Zs revealed they feel more centered and generally happier when listening to their favorite music daily.
“The audio habits of these generations go beyond music, too, with podcast consumption in the Philippines doubling over the past year (March 2020 to March 2021),” Spotify said.
“Filipinos are more open to diverse voices than ever before, with 62% of Pinoy millennials and 58% of Gen Zs saying they’ve sought content from more diverse creators and podcasts in the last year,” it added.
The report also noted how streaming platforms at large have significantly shaped how the youth discover and connect with the broader culture.
“Over 70% of Pinoy millennials and Gen Zs use music to learn about cultures and experiences that differ from their own,” said the audio streaming platform. “Also, 65% of Filipino millennials and 61% of Gen Zs have become part of a global community because of either music or podcasts.”
TikTok, DOT partner for #GandaMoPinas
Short-form mobile video platform TikTok has collaborated with the Department of Tourism (DOT) to elevate local livestream content through the #GandaMoPinas campaign.
The campaign, held from Sept. 22 to 30, spotlighted creators from around the country who promoted their regions through TikTok Live.
Nine creators from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao were shortlisted by the DOT and TikTok as local representatives to participate in the campaign.
During their live sessions, the creators shared about their provinces by highlighting its natural landscape, top tourist spots and activities, best cuisine and local products.
They also encouraged the viewers to help share more of the beauty of the Philippines and invite travelers to visit once it is safe to do so.
A winner from each area will be announced and bestowed the honor of being “TikTok Funfluencers” based on their number of viewers.
YouTube expands vaccine misinformation policy
Video-sharing platform YouTube has expanded its medical misinformation policy and announced that it will take down all content that contain false claims about vaccines.
“Working closely with health authorities, we looked to balance our commitment to an open platform with the need to remove egregious harmful content,” the company said in a statement on Sept. 29.
“We’ve steadily seen false claims about the coronavirus vaccines spill over into misinformation about vaccines in general, and we're now at a point where it's more important than ever to expand the work we started with COVID-19 to other vaccines,” it added.
Last year, YouTube and its parent company Google – along with other social media platforms – implemented strict policies to spread misinformation about COVID-19 pandemic.
YouTube said it has removed over 130,000 videos containing information that violate its COVID-19 vaccine policies, such as those that contradict expert consensus from local health authorities or the World Health Organization.
The expanded policy will now cover general statements about vaccines and not just those referring to the current public health emergency.
“Specifically, content that falsely alleges that approved vaccines are dangerous and cause chronic health effects, claims that vaccines do not reduce transmission or contraction of disease, or contains misinformation on the substances contained in vaccines will be removed,” YouTube said.
“This would include content that falsely says that approved vaccines cause autism, cancer or infertility, or that substances in vaccines can track those who receive them,” it added.
The company stressed it consulted with local and international health organizations and experts in developing these policies, saying its new guidance on vaccine side effects is in line with public vaccine resources provided by health authorities and backed by medical consensus.
YouTube said there are exceptions to the new guidelines, stressing the importance of public discussion and debate to the scientific process.
“We will continue to allow content about vaccine policies, new vaccine trials, and historical vaccine successes or failures on YouTube,” it said.
“Personal testimonials relating to vaccines will also be allowed, so long as the video doesn't violate other community guidelines, or the channel doesn't show a pattern of promoting vaccine hesitancy,” the video-sharing platform added.
‘Instagram Kids’ paused
Image-sharing platform Instagram announced that it has paused the development of the mobile app’s version for children under 13 years old.
“We started this project to address an important problem seen across our industry: kids are getting phones younger and younger, misrepresenting their age, and downloading apps that are meant for those 13 or older,” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said in a blogpost on Sept. 27.
“We firmly believe that it’s better for parents to have the option to give their children access to a version of Instagram that is designed for them – where parents can supervise and control their experience – than relying on an app’s ability to verify the age of kids who are too young to have an ID,” he added.
While they stand by the need to develop Instagram Kids, Mosseri explained they decided to pause the project to work with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators, as well as listen to their concerns and demonstrate the value and importance of the project.
Their intention, he said, is to develop a version of Instagram for those aged 10 to 12 years old, noting similar versions for kids developed by YouTube and TikTok.
“The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today,” Mosseri added. “It will require parental permission to join, it won’t have ads, and it will have age-appropriate content and features. Parents can supervise the time their children spend on the app and oversee who can message them, who can follow them and who they can follow. The list goes on.”
Despite the pause for Instagram Kids, Mosseri said they will continue their work to allow parents to oversee accounts of minors aged 13 and above.
“These new features, which parents and teens can opt into, will give parents the tools to meaningfully shape their teen’s experience,” he noted.