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Rick rolls past a billion views on YouTube

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Rick Rolls

When it comes to famous memes from the 2000s, millennials are just never going to give them up. 

Anyone who was active on the internet since 2009 surely stumbled upon Rick Astley’s music hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” Almost 12 years later, and the music video has exceeded one billion views on YouTube on Wednesday. 

For the Generation Z who weren’t surfing the web at that time, the video itself started off as an internet meme under the name “Rick Roll,” which is the most famous prank in the internet’s history. 

The prank consisted of luring people to click on a hyperlink that claims to be one thing but turns out to be the red-haired iconic singer’s video “Never Gonna Give You Up.” 

The British singer cannot deny the impact the meme had on his music video. According to YouTube, on April Fool’s Day this year, the “Rick roll” generated 2.3 million views. 

Following Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” A-ha’s “Take on Me,” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” Rick Astley’s song is the fourth in line to join the 80’s hits on YouTube. 

The 55-year-old singer celebrated the achievement on Twitter, saying in a video “So I’ve just been told that ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ has been streamed a billion times on YouTube. That is mind-blowing. The world is a wonderful and beautiful place, and I am very lucky.” 

To celebrate the huge milestone, 2,500 copies of the 7-inch blue vinyl of Astley’s popular song were released. Exclusively signed by the singer himself, the $17 vinyl completely sold out, according to Astley’s official website. 

In the past, the singer voiced his perspective on the “Rick roll” meme, saying that he’s completely fine with it. 

In a 2008 interview with the L.A. Times, the famous meme figure in every millennial’s childhood said “I think it’s just one of those odd things where something gets picked up and people run with it. That’s what’s brilliant about the internet.” 

Rim is an experienced content writer with a demonstrated history of working in various niche industries.

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Brave launches a non-tracking video call feature

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Brave

Brave Software, a privacy and security-based software firm is welcoming a video conference feature under the name “Brave Talk’, emphasizing a privacy-conscious video chat option embedded into its own browser.

Through clicking on the camera icon or by visiting the page talk.brave.com, users of the Brave browser can enjoy a non-tracking video call option and even invite participants who do not have the particular browser built in their devices.

Brave, which is one of the Chromium-based browsers competing to become an alternative window to the web, is now vying to join the video conferencing space next to platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft teams. However, unlike other video calling apps, Brave is placing privacy as the number one priority.

Founded in 2016, the company prides itself with its privacy-conscious tools. The new non-tracking video call feature uses an open-source called ‘Jitsi as a Service.” Given that the source can be used directly in Brave, users won’t have to install any apps or software that can potentially compromise their devices.

This is the main differentiator between Brave and platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or Skype, who all have the power to monitor your calls.

“Brave Talk users can enable multiple layers of encryption on calls, so an eavesdropper cannot listen in on users’ calls, and our servers don’t save metadata, so calls, images, and activities are never recorded or shared without user consent.” The company explained according to ZDNet.

The Brave Talk feature is offered free of charge for one-on-one video conferences.

The new option also includes video group watch, livestreaming directly from YouTube, and unlimited call times.

However, a paid version does exist, allowing for even more benefits such as team calls with three or more users, having the ability to record calls, mute other users and enter a passcode to join a video call.

The paid version costs $7 a month for all international users, but the Chromium browser-based Brave has plans to launch the free version of Brave Talk for all Android and iOS users.

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NBCU Warns YouTube TV Subscribers Could Be Blacked Out

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YouTube said it has been unable to so far reach a new carriage agreement with NBCUniversal. The current contract expires on 30 September. If no new deal is struck by then, NBCUniversal content, such as Sunday Night Football, Jimmy Fallon or Law and Order SVU, will no longer be carried by Youtube TV.

NBCUniversal is warning YouTube TV subscribers that they are in danger of losing 14 channels from their streaming lineup if Google and NBCUniversal are unable to come to an agreement on carriage agreement terms.

If you are a YouTube TV subscriber, you may lose NBC, Bravo, CNBC, E!, Golf Channel, MSNBC, Oxygen, SYFY, Telemundo, The Olympic Channel, Universal Kids, Universo, and USA Network.

Google said that if it gets equitable terms, it will renew its agreement with NBCU. Otherwise, subscribers will get a discount for the duration of a blackout, which could begin Thursday.

“If we are unable to reach a deal by Thursday, the NBCU lineup of channels will no longer be available on YouTube TV and we will decrease our monthly price by $10, from $64.99 to $54.99 (while this content remains off our platform),” Google said.

It added: “You can sign up for NBC’s own direct-to-consumer streaming service, Peacock, which they offer for $4.99/month to continue watching NBCU content, such as Sunday Night Football.”

In a statement, NBCU said it is seeking fair rates from Google for YouTube TV.

“Unfortunately, Google is refusing to make a deal at these fair rates and is willing to withhold entertainment, news and sports programming from their paying customers,” NBCU said.

“NBCUniversal feels a responsibility to inform our fans that they are at risk of losing their favorite shows if Google continues with their demands.”

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Facebook responds to WSJ’s Facebook Files series

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Facebook

After The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published a sweeping report regarding Instagram’s harmful impact on teenage girls, Instagram’s parent company Facebook is finally speaking up nearly two weeks later. 

Pratiti Raychoudhury, Vice President and Head of Research at Facebook posted on Facebook’s Newsroom statements clearing out misconceptions, describing WSJ’s portrayal of their internal research as “not accurate,” noting that WSJ journalists poorly interpreted the data. 

The WSJ published on September 14 multiple exposes under the name “The Facebook Files,” based on internal Facebook documents that got leaked to the press. The series emphasized Instagram’s negative effect on teenagers, with a focus on teenage girls. The WSJ pointed the finger at Facebook for acknowledging its harm but only doing “minimal efforts to address these issues” and toning down the truth to the public.  

Raychoudhury completely neglected addressing multiple issues talked about in WSJ’s series, including that Instagram is found to be addictive to most users. Instead, the VP and head of research highlighted that the internal study had just 40 participants. Given that Instagram has over 1 billion users, the participant sample is described as “insufficient.” The study was “designed to inform internal conversations about teens’ most negative perceptions of Instagram,” according Raychoudhury. 

While most of WSJ’s claim went unaddressed, Raychoudhury did explain that the body image problem discussed by WSJ was just one of 12 hypothetical issues that Instagram could potentially worsen for teenage girls.  

“Body image was the only area where teen girls who reported struggling with the issue said Instagram made it worse as compared to the other 11 areas,” Raychoudhury wrote. 

While Facebook remained largely silent after the accusations began spreading, Facebook’s global head of safety, Antigone Davis, is expected to speak on the matter before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Thursday.  

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