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When I write a column about the idiocy that sometimes drives decision-making at YouTube it does bad things to the daily stats for Aardvark.
It seems that although most people use YouTube, few actually care what is being done to change and shape the service or how its creators are being treated. I can understand that but today I shall risk the wrath of the "TL;DR" effect and inform you of something that has created a real shirt-storm within the YT community.
Perhaps the reaction has been so strong this time because it involves a significant level of dishonesty and deceit on the part of the Google operation.
Read about it and tell me in the comments if you agree or disagree with what they're doing and the way they're going about it.
YouTube is more than a video on demand (VOD) service delivering user-generated content to the masses.
Unlike Netflix, Amazon Prime or Disney+, YouTube allows viewers to engage with the content by leaving comments and/or giving the content they see their approval or disapproval via the thumbs up/down buttons.
It is this interaction that makes YouTube more than just a "read only" medium. The discussions and interactions that follow the upload of a video can be more interesting and important than the video itself. The thumbs up/down buttons also allow viewers to rank the value, quality, credibility and relevance of a video, something that is extremely important in an era when most of us are time-poor and scams abound.
Yesterday YouTube posted this video to its own "YouTUbe Creators" channel:
In the video they announced that the number of times a video has received a thumbs-down will be removed from video pages.
Viewers will still be able to give a video a thumbs-down but nobody aside from the creator of the video will be able to see how many times that button has been clicked. Only the thumbs-up total will be displayed.
In a very patronising way, YouTube explains that this change is being made to protect creators, some of who get very upset that people don't like their videos. They also say that there have been concerted attacks on videos by groups that have rallied and given videos huge numbers of thumbs-down ratings, again upsetting the poor delicate little snowflakes who have uploaded those vids.
Well that's what YouTube are *claiming* -- however, the reality is actually quite different and the deceit of their claims can be dismantled with only a small amount of critical thinking.
For a start, they protect the creator from nothing -- because the total number of thumbs-down clicks will still be visible to them, it's just the rest of the world that won't know.
Secondly, if a creator does not want to be upset by seeing thumbs-down clicks on their videos then they already have the ability to disable the ranking system (and the comments if they choose to).
The reality is that YouTube has likely had a lot of complaints from mainstream content creators who've discovered that when they've repurposed their content for YouTube, it has not gone down at all well. There are plenty of videos on the site which have received massive numbers of negative clicks and those mainstream media organisations are not happy to see their material being criticised in this way.
In fact, even YouTube's own "rewind" videos have recently scored massive numbers of downvotes (almost 20 million of them on this one) which must be a huge embarrassment to them. Perhaps THEY are amongst the snowflakes that can't handle criticism -- although they deny that this has anything to do with their latest decision (Cue Tui's ad).
YouTube says that it's made this decision to remove the thumbs-down totals after consulting with creators -- yet I wasn't consulted and neither were any of the great many other creators I've spoken with on the subject.
I'm afraid it's just more lies and deceit from YouTube who are trying to paste over the cracks in their crappy policies designed to appease big media.
To see just how badly they've misjudged the community's response to this change, take a look at the incredible 34,000 comments on that announcement video. They are almost without exception highly critical and scathing of the move.
Of course this won't change YouTube's mind because although they claim to listen to their community, the only thing that catches their ears these days is the sound of money.
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
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