Last week saw an overhaul of the YouTube comments section in a move by Google to further integrate their services. It is also designed to make the less than adequate state of YouTube comments more meaningful. The new system will provide a major boost to the Google+ social network. Users now need to connect their Google+ profile with YouTube in order to comment on videos with the comments also displayed as Google+ posts.
YouTube comments will now be ranked by relevancy according to Google’s criteria, with the video creator’s comments appearing first, followed by people in the user’s Google+ circles, popular personalities and finally any engaged commentary. Moderators will have more power to block particular words and automatically approve certain users as they review comments.
This appears to be a very welcome change. As we all know, YouTube comments have been, well, puerile rubbish to put it mildly. So having better comments with relevant conversations and stamping out the continual vitriol and trolling, is certainly a turn for the better, one would think?
No, it seems not everyone is happy. Users are venting their outrage about the changes with petitions, videos and comments freely flying around the net. One reaction from English singer, Emma Blackery, has gone viral. Her video tells Google in no uncertain terms to back off and leave us alone. Her cheeky, irreverent and definitely adult lyrics set to a catchy tune gained 70, 0000 views with over 30,000 comments in only two days.
The huge irony not to be missed in this instance is that Google stands to gain handsomely from its advertising revenue accompanying the Blackery video, while simultaneously being blasted. Blackery doesn’t expect anything to change as a result of her protest and realises that there isn’t a remote chance that the old commenting system is likely to be returned, and even anticipates some form of possible retribution from Google.
Adding to the controversy, co-founder of YouTube, Jawed Karim has apparently made a comment on his first and only YouTube zoo video from 2005. The post expresses his displeasure, including expletive, about the new requirements. At this stage it is not clear if the comment is a genuine Karim contribution or a hacker’s idea of a joke.