YouTube starts rolling out YouTube Shorts, to compete with TikTok

Just like Instagram did with Reels, YouTube is rolling out a new short-form video creator called YouTube Shorts that the company hopes will take some attention away from TikTok. Reports of YouTube’s short-form video creator tool came out several months ago, but now the company is launching an early beta beginning in India. Similar to TikTok, Shorts will let people make 15-second videos which can be set to music. Music is available via an in-product music picker feature. The picker “currently has 100,000s of tracks, and we’re working with music artists, labels and publishers to make more of their content available to continue expanding our catalogue.” These videos will appear on the homepage in a row dedicated to Shorts, the company announced in a blog post today. YouTube is going to try to get as many people as possible to use its new Shorts feature, and that includes new “create” icon spots that will appear prominently in the app. The “create” icon rolled out with the Shorts beta on Android, with plans to bring the icon to iOS devices soon. The site has more than 2 billion monthly users, noting “we want to enable the next generation of mobile creators to also grow a community on YouTube with Shorts.”

Twitter is launching an election hub with voting info for upcoming US elections

As mail-in ballot deadlines approach and with the presidential election less than two months away, Twitter is introducing an election hub. It will provide real-time voting and election information as well as breaking election-related news, the company announced. The hub will appear at the top of the Explore tab for US users, and it will have Twitter Moments from “reputable news outlets” and its curation team in English and Spanish; live streams of debates and other major events; a tool that shows candidates in a user’s state; and local news. “Twitter wants to empower every eligible person to vote in the 2020 US election, and we’re focused on helping people register, better understand the voting process during COVID-19 including early voting options, and feel informed about the choices on their ballot,” the company said in a statement. Like other social media platforms, Twitter is trying to stem the flood of misinformation as the election approaches. The company banned political ads last year, and it has affixed labels to tweets from politicians, when they have misleading or incorrect information about voting or contain manipulated media.