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YouTube and Facebook are competing for the most star-packed outset, with Oprah, the Obamas, and more.

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YouTube is hosting an online graduation event for seniors whose ceremonies have been canceled. The company announced today that an impressive line-up of beginners has been put together: President Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, K-pop sensation BTS, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Malala Yousafzai, and Lady Gaga are all on the list to speak, among others.

There will also be “special appearances” by Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, Kerry Washington, Zendaya, and YouTube creators such as Dude Perfect and The Try Guys.

With schools shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students and teachers seeking to work out ways of moving campus life and online activities. Social media companies have also tried to get into the game, knowing how many people are stuck at home looking for things to do. TikTok held a week-long “prom” event last month, and Instagram plans to launch graduation sticker packs and polls.

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Often, Facebook hosts a star-studded graduation celebration and it sounds like YouTube is in a fight to get it one-up. The event on Facebook, revealed last week, begins with addresses from Oprah Winfrey, Awkwafina, Jennifer Garner, Lil Nas X, and Simone Biles, and Miley Cyrus will perform.

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Neither event sounds all that typical (I don’t know many ceremonies that feature half a dozen or more prominent starting speakers, musical performances and special appearances), but that’s the point as well. They are just entertainment worthwhile tuning into.

Past speeches on YouTube have racked up tens of millions of views, and these multimedia activities are an opportunity to attract many more eyes to the networks now and in the future.

The case for YouTube will take place on 6th June. On May 17th, YouTube plans to reveal the exact schedule, two days after Facebook holds its own ceremony.

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Ayeni Sylvester
the authorAyeni Sylvester

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