YouTube Updates Comments to Combat Spam

/ Nov 26, 2013


Less than a month after rolling out its new comment system, YouTube has found itself on the defensive against a wave of spam that has plagued almost every video on the platform. In a blog post written by YouTube, the company acknowledges the influx in spam since introducing mandatory Google+ integration. Taking steps to alleviate this issue, YouTube has announced three updates to the system, including:

  •  Better recognition of bad links and impersonation attempts
  • Improved ASCII art detection
  • Changing how long comments are displayed

Since the new system launched, many creators — including some of the platform’s biggest — have disabled comments in order to curb the presence of all three of the above points. The ability to write with unlimited text in the new system has allowed spammers to post, as creator Boogie2988 points out, entire movie scripts and ASCII images that represent offensive images and material. Given that the updated comments section favors “relevant” content, spam such as movie scripts and offensive text-based art draws the most attention and is ultimately boosted to the top of the feed.

 As creators began disabling comments en masse, we reached out to YouTube, who informed us that they were fully aware of the situation. At the time, a representative told us that YouTube had no intention of “walking away” from the comment system.

With these new updates released by YouTube, many are left wondering if the Google+ integration that sparked so much controversy will remain down the road. The recent YouTube post, however, gives no indication that the video site plans to remove Google+ integration. YouTube writes: “We’re also working on improving comment ranking and moderation of old-style comments.” While no direct statement is made, the addition of the phrase “old-style comments” does not seem to bode well for the system that many users are currently fighting to have back.

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