Posts with «employment & career» label

YouTube created the creator economy

Nineteen years after Jawed Karim uploaded the very first YouTube video, the awkward, 19-second clip in front of San Diego Zoo’s elephant enclosure is memorable today only because of what it represents: the start of a multibillion-dollar juggernaut that defines so much of what it means to be an online creator.

Today, YouTube is the most dominant social media platform by a sizable margin, especially among teenagers. Its influence is so vast it feels almost impossible to define. The service has birthed thousands of memes and internet personalities. Its recommendation algorithm has been credited with supercharging bizarre trends and viral misinformation.

But one of the most powerful ways YouTube has wielded its influence is through its Partner Program. The revenue sharing arrangement has generated billions of dollars for its most popular users and helped define the multibillion-dollar industry we now call the creator economy. Today, there are dozens of platforms and business models for making money via content creation, but it’s difficult to imagine any of them existing without YouTube’s Partner Program.

While YouTube is hardly the only platform that has made becoming an online creator feel like a viable career path, it has played an outsized role in creating and fueling the industry. When Google first introduced the Partner Program in 2007, there weren’t many ways to make a living from online content. The blogging industry was well established, but online media dynamics were already shifting away from independently run operations in favor of established platforms and brands.

YouTube, on the other hand, was a rising upstart in online media. Google had acquired the video service in 2006, before it had ads or even a mobile app. And when it announced it would make some of its most popular creators “partners“ in its business, it promised some of Google’s ad money could flow directly to the people making content.

It would take several more years for the Partner Program to grow into the money-printing machine it is now. But the Partner Program arrived, in 2007, when there was a growing demand for online video. Between 2006 and 2009, the audience for online video doubled, according to Pew Research, and YouTube was the biggest beneficiary. By the fall of 2009, YouTube was seeing more than one billion views a day.

That same year, YouTube made another important change to its monetization policies. It decided to spread the wealth so any single viral video could be eligible for revenue sharing, even if the creator wasn’t a partner, affirming that YouTube was the place to make money from viral content. In 2012, the Partner Program officially opened to everyone, and by 2014 there were one million creators making money from YouTube, according to The New York Times.

The flood of creators looking for a payout (and the sometimes scammy tactics that drove them) eventually led YouTube to again tighten its requirement for partner status in 2017. But YouTube had already cemented itself as the platform for amateur creators to turn their videos into a steady income. Today, there are more than three million channels with partner status, and the company has paid creators more than $70 billion in the last three years alone.

Of course, creators starting out now have many options available besides YouTube. Nearly every social media app offers some kind of monetization opportunity, though few have generated anything close to the eye-popping eight-figure sums made by YouTube’s top talent.

Other companies' creator funds, in which all creators draw payouts from the same pool of money fronted by the platform, have been underwhelming. YouTube star Jimmy Donaldson, better known as Mr. Beast, regularly tops the lists of YouTube’s highest earners. In 2022, he shared that he was making less than $10,000 a year from TikTok’s creator fund. And other apps’ monetization features, like tipping, subscriptions and virtual gifts, are difficult to scale.

Unsurprisingly, the number of YouTube-made multimillionaires has drastically changed teens’ ideas for career paths. In 2005, the year YouTube came online, teens said their top career aspirations were to become teachers or doctors, according to a poll conducted by Gallup. By 2021, YouGov found becoming a YouTuber or streamer was the top aspiration for Gen Z. In 2023, Morning Consult reported that 57% of Gen Z would like to pursue a career as an online creator “if given the opportunity.”

Polls like this often prompt a lot of eye rolls and snarky headlines. But it’s never been easier or more lucrative to be an online creator. At least one university offers a major in content creation and social media. Whether we like the idea of influencing as a career path, the industry of independent streamers, vloggers, newsletter writers, podcast producers, VTubers and others is worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

LinkedIn is developing in-app games to further distract you from your job hunt

LinkedIn, a platform that surely everybody associates with fun, may soon offer puzzle-based games to give its users something to do besides networking. App researcher Nima Owji posted a series of screenshots on X this weekend showing some of the games LinkedIn is working on, and the company has since confirmed the plan to TechCrunch. Employees’ scores will reportedly affect how the companies they work for are ranked in the games.

BREAKING: #LinkedIn is working on IN-APP GAMES!

There are going to be a few different games and companies will be ranked in the games based on the scores of their employees!

Pretty cool and fun, in my opinion!

— Nima Owji (@nima_owji) March 16, 2024

Per TechCrunch, the titles LinkedIn is working on so far include “Queens,” “Inference” and “Crossclimb.” LinkedIn provided the publication with some newer images of the games, but for everyone just anxiously awaiting their rollout, there’s no timeline yet for when they’ll be released. It’s unclear if games will be available in full to free users or reserved for LinkedIn’s paid subscribers.

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SpaceX lawsuit claims repeated instances of gender discrimination and basic safeguarding failures

Warning: The following article covers matters of a sensitive nature.

A SpaceX employee has filed a lawsuit against the company, accusing it of siding with a supervisor who pressured her into having sexual relations with him. The plaintiff said that she and other female employees also had to endure "humiliating comments" questioning their credentials, that she was passed up for promotions in favor of male candidates and that she experienced retaliation when she complained about being paid less than her male counterparts. 

The plaintiff, Michelle Dopak, has been working at the aerospace corporation's headquarters in California since 2017. According to her complaint, she experienced discrimination early on in her employment when she was passed up for job opportunities in favor of external male candidates. Her male colleagues allegedly spread rumors about their female coworkers, as well, claiming that they only got their jobs because of their looks. Dopak and two of her female colleagues met with Gwynne Shotwell to complain about both issues — "an action that no male colleague or employee at SpaceX would ever feel the need to do to justify their hiring and stop such discriminatory actions," the lawsuit reads. The SpaceX president, however, apparently didn't take any action. 

After a reorganization in 2019, the plaintiff was placed under the supervision of a male boss who allegedly pressured her into having a sexual relationship that lasted years. When she got pregnant as a result, she said her married supervisor offered her $100,000 to have an abortion, which she had refused. She also accused SpaceX of colluding with her boss to transfer 48,289 shares worth $3,718,253 out of his name so that he could get out of paying child support. 

Her complaints didn't end there. After getting promoted to a position she had been chasing for years, she found out that a male colleague who was hired at the same time was being paid $5,000 more. The company officials she talked to about the pay disparity couldn't justify it and allegedly offered her only $2,500 more if she also took a reduction in stock benefits. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff said the offer was "a message that if you complain at SpaceX, we will just retaliate against you and find other ways to punish you."

The lawsuit accuses SpaceX of forcing female employees who have claims of sexual harassment and discrimination into bringing their claims to arbitration so that they could be kept secret from the public. "SpaceX has also attempted to coerce and force [the plaintiff] into only bringing her claims in arbitration even though such claims are barred from being forced to arbitration," the complaint continues.

The plaintiff is asking for general, compensatory and consequential damages, including lost wages, earnings and other employee benefits. She's also asking the court to prohibit SpaceX from continuing any "unfair and unlawful business practices." SpaceX is currently facing another proposed class action lawsuit that claims it pays women and minorities tens of thousands less than what it pays white male employees. In January, the National Labor Relations Board filed a complaint against SpaceX, as well, accusing it for illegally firing a group of engineers who criticized Elon Musk for making crude jokes on X about the sexual misconduct accusations against him.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Until Dawn and The Quarry developer Supermassive is reportedly laying off around 90 workers

Yet another notable game studio is laying off a significant chunk of its workforce. Supermassive Games, the developer behind interactive horror titles Until Dawn and The Quarry, is cutting around 90 jobs, according to Bloomberg. That's nearly a third of the studio's more than 300 employees.

Supermassive confirmed in a statement that the studio will reorganize. "As a result, we are entering into a period of consultation, which we anticipate will result in the loss of some of our colleagues," it said. "This is not a decision that's been taken lightly, with many efforts made to avoid this outcome."

A statement from Supermassive Games.

— Supermassive Games (@SuperMGames) February 26, 2024

Supermassive notes that it's not safe from the "significant challenges" facing the games industry. More than 6,000 workers in the industry have lost their jobs since the beginning of the year and we're not even into March yet.

Meanwhile, indie studio Die Gute Fabrik has paused production amid funding difficulties. The developer of Saltsea Chronicles and Sportsfriends will use its remaining funds to give staff a month of paid time "to catch their breaths" while they look for new jobs. The studio is still seeking backers to help it resume production and hopes to bring back current team members in the future. However, it notes that "the publishing and investment scene is so tough for companies and projects of our scale right now it's made it extremely difficult to secure funding for our next project without a gap in income."

We’re sad to share that we're halting production at @gutefabrik due to the challenging funding & investment scene in games right now. We downed tools earlier this month & have been doing our best to support the team who'll be looking for work from mid-March.

Full statement:

— Die Gute Fabrik (@gutefabrik) February 26, 2024

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Engadget is looking for experienced writers!

Engadget has always been a scrappy team, but there are only so many news stories, reviews, reports and buying guides our staff can write in a given week. As such, we’re looking to add some reliable contributing writers to our team who know their way around the tech space and can turn around some fast, clean copy to boot. We are looking for writers across a variety of disciplines: short-form news writing, product reviews and buying guides (what some will call “best lists,” but frankly, we prefer the term guides).

You don’t have to fit all three of those boxes to apply. If you’re looking to contribute to our news desk specifically, the hours we most need help are the very long stretch from 7AM ET to 7PM ET. As such, it would probably be helpful if you were based in North America, or even the UK or Europe. For reviews, features and buying guides, it really doesn’t matter where you’re based so long as you do great work.

What we’re looking for:

  • You must already be a published journalist. It’s true that some of us got our start in tech blogging after switching careers, but this time at least, we feel someone who has already worked in a newsroom of some kind is going to have the best chance of success.

  • We strongly prefer writers who already have experience writing about consumer tech, gaming, space, science or some combination thereof.

  • Being fast is nice, but producing well-written, well-researched copy is paramount.

  • You’re generally a good colleague who’s receptive to feedback and understands that sometimes things get chaotic when news is breaking and we have to work quickly and calmly.

And a little about us:

  • This is not a staff position; it’s freelance work.

  • We pay $32 an hour for news writing. Flat rates for longer pieces vary, starting at $750 for lightly reported features.

  • We have several senior editors specializing in news, reviews and buying guides. Depending on your assignment, you may not work with the same editor each time.

  • We are a remote newsroom. For all intent and purposes, Slack is our office.

  • We are a friendly group, if we do say so ourselves! Many of our teammates have been here for five, 10, almost 15 years, in no small part due to the fact that this is simply a lovely place to work.

Qualified candidates should ping us at Please send a resume and at least three clips. Don’t bother with a cover letter; just a polite, grammatically correct email introducing yourself will do. Please note, there are several of us monitoring this inbox and reviewing resumes. We will respond to applicants who could be a good match.

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TikTok is the fastest-growing social platform, but YouTube remains the most dominant

The Pew Research Center has published an updated survey of US adult social media usage. Although YouTube (especially) and Facebook retain their dominant status from the last poll in 2021, TikTok is the fastest-growing platform, with more than a third of adults now saying they use the app.

The survey polled 5,733 US adults between May 19 and September 5, 2023. YouTube was far and away the most used platform, with 83 percent of respondents reporting using it at some point. Meanwhile, 68 percent of users reported using Facebook.

Those two are the only platforms with a majority of people using them through each age demographic. However, gaps based on age groups still exist — especially among YouTube’s users. For example, 93 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds report using Google’s video platform, while 60 percent of those 65 and older say the same. (Facebook only has a nine percent difference between the same two demographics.)

Instagram came in third place overall, as 47 percent of respondents said they use it. Pinterest (35 percent), TikTok (33 percent), LinkedIn (30 percent), WhatsApp (29 percent) and Snapchat (27 percent) all fall into the next tier down. TikTok’s growth stands out the most: The ByteDance-owned platform shot up 12 points from 21 percent from two years before. That’s by far the biggest leap of any platform on the list.

Twitter changed its name to X and brought in CEO Linda Yaccarino while the surveys were in the field.
Richard Bord via Getty Images

The next tier down includes Reddit and X, each sitting at 22 percent. Complicating matters, Elon Musk’s company changed its name from Twitter to X (and brought in a new CEO) while the surveys were in the field. The company’s reported users dropped slightly in two years, from 23 percent in 2021. Meanwhile, Reddit rose four points from 18 percent two years before — despite the platform’s API controversy happening while the surveys were out.

Other platforms with significant age-group discrepancies include Instagram (78 percent of 29-and-under survey participants use it, compared to 15 percent of 65 and older) and Snapchat (65 percent use it for those under 30, four percent for 65 and up). The 40- to 49-year-old demographic, which includes younger Gen-Xers and all but the youngest Millennials, has especially high rates for LinkedIn (40 percent), WhatsApp (38 percent) and Facebook (75 percent).

In other demographic-based notables, Pew reports TikTok is especially popular among Hispanic users, with 49 percent reporting use (and women reported using it at a 15 percent higher rate than men). X is more popular with adults with annual household incomes of at least $100,000 — a nine-point swing compared to the $70,000 to $99,999 tier. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, given its career-oriented focus, LinkedIn has a higher rate of respondents with at least a bachelor’s degree (25 points higher than those with “some college education” and 43 percent higher than those with a high school diploma or less).

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

LinkedIn's new AI feature helps people find jobs by grouping them into tailored categories

For many, "new year, new me" includes finding a new job. Scouring sites like LinkedIn and Indeed for opportunities can feel like a full-time role in and of itself. This process could potentially improve moving forward, with LinkedIn announcing its latest feature: Job Collections. 

Basically, instead of searching for a specific industry or role, LinkedIn is using generative AI and large language models to analyze each job posting and categorize it into groups such as IT, pro sports, remote and top startups. Along with saving time, LinkedIn indicates that this feature can benefit people who aren't sure what their next step looks like. The company compares it to Airbnb Experiences — you might not know what you're searching for, but you could find something great. Its success relies significantly on how well it understands you versus wasting your time further sorting through jobs that are completely off base. 

According to LinkedIn, applications have risen 50 percent in the US and 36 percent globally, with 85 percent of working people contemplating changing jobs this year. The number of people searching for a job isn't surprising, given the number of recent layoffs. In the tech industry alone, 2024 has already seen layoffs at Twitch, Google, Meta, Discord and more.  

To use LinkedIn's new feature, simply go to the Jobs tab and click on "Explore with Job Collections." You can now also go to Preferences and choose from things like employment and location type. Then LinkedIn will highlight them in green anytime they appear on a job listing. Plus, if a job isn't exactly what you want but the company is, you can now send them an "I'm Interested" notification right from the listing instead of visiting their profile to do so. 

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Meta reportedly laid off 60 technical program managers at Instagram

When Mark Zuckerberg announced last year that Meta was laying off 10,000 workers, he described 2023 as a "year of efficiency" defined by removing layers of middle management to create a "leaner org." Turns out the company still isn't done restructuring its organization. According to Business Insider, Meta recently told at least 60 of its employees at Instagram that it's eliminating their position altogether. The affected employees are technical program managers, the people who go in between Meta's tech workers, including its engineers, and the higher level product managers.

Based on posts on Blind, an app for tech employees, and on LinkedIn seen by the publication, the workers losing their jobs are given the chance to be interviewed to be considered for a position as product manager. By March, those who chose to leave or weren't given a new role will no longer have a job with Meta. The company slashed 11,000 jobs in the fall of 2022 in addition to the 10,000 workers it laid off last year in an effort to cut costs. It also issued a hiring freeze and closed thousands of open roles it was originally hiring for. 

"A leaner org will execute its highest priorities faster. People will be more productive, and their work will be more fun and fulfilling," Zuckerberg said last year. It's unclear if Meta has already lifted its hiring freeze, but it's expected to do so only after it's done with restructuring. 

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Amazon is laying off ‘several hundred’ employees at Prime Video and MGM Studios

Amazon is laying off hundreds of people across Prime Video and Amazon MGM Studios, as reported by Variety. This is for the usual reason. The company found a way to save some money and went for it. You know the drill. Amazon's entertainment chief Mike Hopkins wrote in an email to staff that it has “identified opportunities to reduce or discontinue investments in certain areas while increasing our investment and focus on content and product initiatives that deliver the most impact.”

Hopkins didn’t give an exact number, but did note that “several hundred” employees would be given walking papers and that most American workers will know by the end of the day, with global employees following suit by the end of the week. He also wrote that “it is hard to say goodbye to talented Amazonians.” 

Amazon says it’ll help laid off workers with benefit packages that will include a separation payment and external job placement support. The company promises “continued investments in programming, marketing and product," despite the layoffs.

Amazon has been in something of a layoff frenzy of late, even with over 200 million paying Prime subscribers. Most recently, it absolutely gutted Twitch with layoffs amounting to 35 percent of the service’s workforce. The company laid off nearly 200 people from its gaming division back in November, along with a few hundred people from its Alexa division. In January of last year, Amazon laid off an astounding 18,000 people from its retail and recruiting divisions. The company posted record profits in 2023.

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New Department of Labor rule could reclassify countless gig workers as employees

The US Department of Labor (DOL) published a final rule to the Federal Register on Wednesday that would increase the difficulty of classifying workers as independent contractors. If the rule survives court challenges unscathed, it will replace a business-friendly Trump-era regulation that did the opposite. It’s scheduled to go into effect on March 11.

The new rule, first proposed in 2022, could have profound implications for companies like Uber and DoorDash that rely heavily on gig workers. It would mandate that workers who are “economically dependent” on a company be considered employees.

The rule restores a pre-Trump precedent of using six factors to determine workers’ classification. These include their opportunity for profit or loss, the financial stake and nature of resources the worker has invested in the work, the work relationship’s permanence, the employer’s degree of control over the person’s work, how essential the person’s work is to the employer’s business and the worker’s skill and initiative.

In its decision to publish the new guidance, the DOL cites a “longstanding precedent” in the courts predating the Trump administration’s hard right turn. “A century of labor protections for working people is premised on the employer-employee relationship,” Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su said in a press call with Bloomberg.

“Misclassifying employees as independent contractors is a serious issue that deprives workers of basic rights and protections,” Su wrote in the announcement post. “This rule will help protect workers, especially those facing the greatest risk of exploitation, by making sure they are classified properly and that they receive the wages they’ve earned.”

Mike Kemp via Getty Images

If the rule takes effect, it’s expected to increase employer costs. The US Chamber of Commerce, a non-government lobby for business interests, unsurprisingly opposes it. “It is likely to threaten the flexibility of individuals to work when and how they want and could have significant negative impacts on our economy,” Marc Freedman, VP of the US Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement to Reuters.

DoorDash sounds optimistic that the rule wouldn’t apply to its workforce. “We are confident that Dashers are properly classified as independent contractors under the FLSA, and we do not anticipate this rule causing changes to our business,” the company wrote in a statement. “We will continue to engage with the Department of Labor, Congress, and other stakeholders to find solutions that ensure Dashers maintain their flexibility while gaining access to new benefits and protections.”

Groups with similar views are expected to mount legal challenges to the rule before it goes into effect. A previous attempt by the Biden Administration to void the Trump-era rules met such a fate when a federal judge blocked the DOL’s reversal.

Although the most prominent theoretical applications of the rule would be with gig economy apps like DoorDash, Lyft and Uber, it could stretch to sectors including healthcare, trucking and construction. “The department is seeing misclassifications in places it hasn’t seen it before,” Wage and Hour Division Administrator Jessica Looma said to Bloomberg on Monday. “Health care, construction, janitorial, and even restaurant workers who are often living paycheck to paycheck are some of the most vulnerable workers.”

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