Against spam comments YouTube fights back but sticks with Google+


Google’s video service trying to crack down on bad links, impersonation and ASCII art annoyances,

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YouTube’s changes to its comments system have been controversial.

YouTube is changing its revamped comments system to fend off a new wave of spam, but the company is sticking with its controversial decision to tie the system to its Google+ social network.

The original changes were made in early November in what YouTube described as an attempt to ensure “YouTube comments will become conversations that matter to you”. Channel owners were given more tools to moderate comments and block certain keywords, while the comments section was re-ordered to bubble up “engaged discussions” to the top.

Since then, creators have loudly complained that the changes have fuelled a new wave of spam – YouTube’s own video explaining them featured a prominent ASCII-art penis for some time.

The site’s most popular creator, Swedish gamer PewDiePie, even turned off his comments, claiming that his videos were being overrun with “Links to virus sites, advertisers, self-advertisers, spam, copy and paste pics of dogs”.

In a new blog post, YouTube admits that there have been problems. “While the new system dealt with many spam issues that had plagued YouTube comments in the past, it also introduced new opportunities for abuse and shortly after the launch, we saw some users taking advantage of them,” it explains.

The company says it has rolled out a number of updates including better recognition of bad links and impersonation attempts, changing how long comments are displayed for, and (bad news for digital dog and genitalia artists) “improved ASCII art detection”.

“We know the spam issues made it hard to use the new system at first, and we’re excited to see more of you getting involved as we’ve fixed issues. New features like threaded conversations and formatted comments are coming to life, thanks to you and your fans,” claims the blog post, which adds that YouTube will soon introduce tools to help channel owners bulk-moderate their comments.

What hasn’t changed is the deeper integration of YouTube and Google+, which has proved to be the most controversial change of all, including for the site’s own co-founder Jawed Karim, who complained in a post on his channel “why the fuck do i need a google+ account to comment on a video?”

That may well flare up again at the sight of YouTube dealing with spam issues without addressing (or even acknowledging) the arguments around Google+.

Post By Mantosh Pal

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