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Recode Daily: These influencers and fans are ready to leave YouTube behind

Plus: The FTC fined Facebook $5 billion and Wall Street didn’t even blink. 

A YouTube logo sign.
YouTube has been criticized for mishandling content on its platform related to a range of sensitive topics.
Olly Curtis/Future via Getty Images via Getty Images

As YouTube struggles with controversy, TikTok is surging in popularity. The VidCon digital video conference has always been focused on YouTube creators and their fans, but last week’s 10th annual gathering reflected changes — and threats — for the video-sharing site. YouTube has been criticized for mishandling content on its platform related to a range of sensitive topics, including anti-vax misinformation, online harassment, white nationalism, and conspiracy theories. Many conversations at the event this year centered on the health of the YouTube platform and creators’ experiences with harassment and exploitation, with one popular YouTuber asking onstage, “How do we protect ourselves from our audience?” according to BuzzFeed News’s report from VidCon.

  • What’s next? The short-form video app TikTok is creating a new generation of video stars, and the enthusiasm of its creators’ millions of young fans at this year’s VidCon is a sign of their shifting allegiance from YouTube to a new platform.
    [Ryan Broderick / BuzzFeed News]

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The FTC fined Facebook $5 billion and Wall Street didn’t even blink. Facebook will pay a $5 billion settlement to the Federal Trade Commission related to charges that it violated users’ privacy during the Cambridge Analytica scandal. But after news of the settlement broke on Friday, Wall Street pushed the value of Facebook shares up slightly, to nearly $205. Why? Because $5 billion is a “very doable number for Facebook” — and investors were well-prepared because the company said it expected a fine in that price range back in March.

  • Perspective: Facebook booked profits of $22.1 billion in 2018. This year, even when accounting for the fine, Facebook will still earn more than $19 billion, according to analysts.
    [Peter Kafka / Recode]

Speaking of Facebook and privacy violations ... Congress still hasn’t moved forward on a bill to protect consumer privacy. With only a few weeks to go until Congress takes its recess in August, legislators are running out of time to act on creating federal online privacy legislation. According to Politico, Sen. John Kennedy said at a hearing last week, “We’ve been talking for what, two years about a privacy bill? Haven’t seen one, don’t know if we’ll ever see one.” Congress’ failure to act seems especially troubling in light of the FTC’s Facebook penalty announcement last week.

  • What happened? Politico reports that, initially, there seemed to be a “consensus among Republicans and Democrats on the privacy issue.” But they haven’t moved forward because of various complications, including questions of how a federal bill will interact with state bills and if “federal standards should apply to corporate data breaches.”
  • What’s next? A number of lawmakers have expressed the urgency to create a consumer privacy bill, but the Trump administration hasn’t provided any insight into what would be acceptable in such legislation, and instead it has focused on insisting that social media platforms are biased against conservative accounts.
    [John Hendel / Politico]

Seven million students’ names, emails, ages, and other personal information were exposed by a misconfigured online education platform called that’s used by more than 1,000 school districts around the US. As Engadget reports, the information was available online for more than a week before it was fixed, though it’s uncertain if any bad actors were aware of the breach and accessed the information.

  • The background: This isn’t the first time a misconfigured database has exposed people’s sensitive data; in fact, this kind of breach is concerningly common. According to Engadget, the personal data of all kinds of people ranging from Instagram influencers to rehab patients to movie fans have all been exposed in similar breaches in just the past few months.’s exposure stands out because it involves children’s personal information.
    [A.J. Dellinger / Engadget]

Listen up: Today on Recode Decode, Kara Swisher talks to Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg. In the interview, Buttigieg told Kara Swisher that he supports a national “right to be forgotten” from the internet. “Some of these things are fierce technical — as well as legal, as well as constitutional — problems,” Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said. “But at the end of the day, we need to have some level of relationship to the value that is created in our name.”

Other topics of conversation between the two included his new “Douglass Plan” to help Black Americans, and, of course, Donald Trump. Want to watch it for yourself? A video of the full interview can be found here.

Prefer to listen? You can do that wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and TuneIn.

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Recode and Vox have joined forces to uncover and explain how our digital world is changing — and changing us. Subscribe to Recode podcasts to hear Kara Swisher and Peter Kafka lead the tough conversations the technology industry needs today.

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