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Spotify seeks moderation advice to increase creator content

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Spotify seeks moderation advice to increase creator content

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and a surviving Monday, despite looming financial catastrophe . It is hard to not think about it. Good thing there was a newsletter!

Today’s content moderation tips from Spotify, TED launches a new subscription and Acast allows its podcasters to sell NFTs.

As Spotify grows its stable of creators, it taps experts to consult on content moderation

If there was one thing that Spotify’s investor presentation last week revealed, it was the fact that Spotify is focusing on creator content. According to CEO Daniel Ek, the “Spotify Machine” is a company , that will expand into new verticals and attract millions of creators to the platform. This kind of scale might be great for the company’s bottom line, but it could also lead to misinformation and other harmful content being able to slip through. Spotify announced Monday that it has gathered top experts in speech and technology to advise the company .

The 18-member Spotify Safety Advisory Council is made up of academics, researchers, entrepreneurs, and advocates who focus on the evolving nature of speech online. This council’s role is advisory. It does not have formal oversight over moderation decisions. This group will meet several times per year and focus on Spotify’s issues.

According to council member Danielle Citron, a law professor at the University of Virginia who focuses on privacy and safety, the move formalizes what Spotify has already been doing. For the past few years, Citron has been in consultation with Sarah Hoyle (Spotify’s head for trust and safety).

Citron noted that, in her experience with Spotify, the company is focused on getting ahead of content meant to target or harass individuals. She said that they are working hard on it. She said, “They’re working hard at it.”

While preventing and taking down harassing and violent content is relatively uncontroversial, Spotify also has to contend with the thornier issues of what counts as dangerous misinformation. How the company handles that problem could be crucial to its business, according to Z. John Zhang, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School who studied how business factors influence social media firms’ content moderation policies (and who is not involved with the council). One, customers could be turned off by the spread of harmful information. The platform must be inclusive on the other hand or it could risk alienating people who feel they are being targeted. Zhang stated that Spotify must maintain a certain balance. It is very, very difficult to do .”

Internal policies may not be the only tools at Spotify’s disposal, however. Zhang stated that raising the cost to make a podcast or an audiobook can deter some people from doing wrong. Zhang said that a good pricing system could also make content moderation easier.

So far, the barrier to entry is pretty low. Spotify is well on its way to stocking the library with creator content and becoming less dependent on the expensive, clunky music business. Thanks in large part to DIY podcast platform Anchor, which Spotify acquired in 2019, the streamer is now home to 4 million podcasts, a fourfold increase since 2020. Now, Spotify is moving into audiobooks, enabling creators to upload their own and allowing listeners to access at least some of them for free. That is a lot of new content to screen, and moderating audio content is notoriously difficult.

Spotify came under heavy criticism earlier this year for the hands-off approach it took to the medical misinformation featured on Joe Rogan’s podcast. While millions listen to Rogan’s podcast, Spotify was heavily criticised earlier this year for its inaction regarding medical misinformation. However, it is much easier for lesser-known podcasts to remain under the radar. Taylor Griffin, spokesperson for Spotify, stated that the company uses a combination human review and technical mechanisms in order to ensure content conforms to platform standards.

There is no easy answer about how to approach moderation, said Citron. Citron said that systems that rely on users reporting harmful content allow a lot to slip through the cracks. AI, however, can be a “blunt instrument” that overlooks contextual clues. She said that she senses they will be trying to find creative ways to prevent harm and ensure trust.

EXCLUSIVE: TED launches new podcast subscription on Apple Podcasts

TED is launching a subscription service for its popular podcasts, called TED Audio Collective Plus. The subscription is exclusive to Apple Podcasts and will allow listeners early access some shows as well as ad-free streaming of other podcasts.

Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter (which is currently TED’s top-ranked show on Apple Podcasts), The TED Interview, and Far Flung with Saleem Reshamwala will be made available to subscribers a week early without ads. A slew of other top shows (but not all) will be ad-free through Audio Collective Plus, including TED Talks Daily, TED Business, and How To Be a Better Human (which is the top TED show on Spotify).

At $4. 99 per month and $49. 99 per year, the pricing for Audio Collective Plus is basically identical to TED’s membership program. But while TED membership includes ad-free listening to TED Talks Daily, it’s more focused on events and community than podcasts. TED claims podcasts will become a larger business. 65 million downloads across its shows), Audio Collective Plus will give the company a chance to bring in paying customers beyond its traditional base.

New Acast partnership will allow podcasters to sell merch, NFTs

Acast announced Tuesday that it is partnering with Spring, a service that helps content creators make their own online stores. The new partnership will enable Acast’s podcasters to sell traditional merchandise like T-shirts and tote bags (the audio industry simply loves a tote bag) or even branch out into the riskier world of NFTs.

Acast has launched a pilot program with 11 of its shows, including Do Go On and Goes Without Saying. It seems that most stores have opted for the traditional merch route, which seems wise considering how the NFT market is faring.

That’s all for today! Enjoy a normal week.

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USB logos finally make sense, thanks to a redesign

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USB logos finally make sense, thanks to a redesign


Author: Mark Hachman
, Senior Editor

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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Cheaper OLED monitors might be coming soon

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Cheaper OLED monitors might be coming soon


Author: Michael Crider
, Staff Writer

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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New Pixel Watch leak reveals watch faces, strap styles and more

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New Pixel Watch leak reveals watch faces, strap styles and more
Google Pixel watch



The Google Pixel Watch is incoming
(Image credit: Google)

We’re expecting the Google Pixel Watch to make its full debut on Thursday, October 6 – alongside the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro – but in the meantime a major leak has revealed much more about the upcoming smartwatch.

Seasoned tipster @OnLeaks (opens in new tab) has posted the haul, which shows off some of the color options and band styles that we can look forward to next week. We also get a few shots of the watch interface and a picture of it being synced with a smartphone.

Watch faces are included in the leak too, covering a variety of different approaches to displaying the time – both in analog and digital formats. Another image shows the watch being used to take an ECG reading to assess heartbeat rate.

Just got my hands on a bunch of #Google #PixelWatch promo material showing all color options and Watch Bands for the first time. Some details revealed as well…@Slashleaks 👉🏻 https://t.co/HzbWeGGSKP pic.twitter.com/N0uiKaKXo0October 1, 2022

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Full colors

If the leak is accurate, then we’ve got four silicone straps on the way: black, gray, white, and what seems to be a very pale green. Leather straps look to cover black, orange, green and white, while there’s also a fabric option in red, black and green.

We already know that the Pixel Watch is going to work in tandem with the Fitbit app for logging all your vital statistics, and included in the leaked pictures is an image of the Pixel Watch alongside the Fitbit app running on an Android phone.

There’s plenty of material to look through here if you can’t wait until the big day – and we will of course be bringing you all the news and announcements as the Google event unfolds. It gets underway at 7am PT / 10am ET / 3pm BST / 12am AEDT (October 7).


Analysis: a big moment for Google

It’s been a fair while since Google launched itself into a new hardware category, and you could argue that there’s more riding on the Pixel Watch than there is on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro – as Google has been making phones for years at this point.

While Wear OS has been around for a considerable amount of time, Google has been leaving it to third-party manufacturers and partners to make the actual hardware. Samsung recently made the switch back to Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, for example.

Deciding to go through with its own smartwatch is therefore a big step, and it’s clear that Google is envious of the success of the Apple Watch. It’s the obvious choice for a wearable for anyone who owns an iPhone, and Google will be hoping that Pixel phones and Pixel Watches will have a similar sort of relationship.

What’s intriguing is how Fitbit fits in – the company is now run by Google, but so far we haven’t seen many signs of the Fitbit and the Pixel lines merging, even if the Pixel Watch is going to come with support for the Fitbit app.

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you’ll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.

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