Every day, with over 400 hours of videos uploaded on YouTube, maintaining the credibility and content quality once the video is up is not an easy task. With being a powerful business tool, YouTube is a platform to create brand awareness, share insights, build a medium where audience clearly understands your viewpoint rather than only holding silly or pointless video contents. Promoting and encouraging trustworthy content for the users is the key to successful utilization of the platform to maintain the flow of genuine content, and that is why YouTube algorithm changes keep on happening.
Standing as the world’s second most used search engine after Google, YouTube has the core responsibility to boost user engagement and satisfaction, and at the very basic level, help the viewers find the videos they want to watch. All this is the magic of YouTube’s algorithm that exactly knows what you want to watch.
The algorithm uses deep neural networks and machine learning to recommend the very best for your choice. But in the last two years, YouTube has faced critical criticism on showing disturbing content to users and spreading fake news. Earlier in 2017, when 58 people were killed in Las Vegas mass shooting, people searched for footage of the shooting on YouTube and instead of showing the verified content, the top results showed no causalities in the shooting, and some even claimed it to be a “fake event.” The same year, YouTube algorithm changes improvised the quality of news videos to reduce conspiracy content on its platform and in January 2019, YouTube announced no “borderline recommendations” by its algorithm to reduce the flow of inaccurate information and conspiracy theories. YouTube algorithm changes will then be seen reducing the circulation of recommendations like, “videos claiming the earth is round,” “incorrect claims about 9/11” and more. YouTube has timely tweaked its algorithm to bar false claims and recommend search results that are trustworthy and genuine.
We might also remember that a while ago, viewers were getting irritated with clickbaity videos having misleading titles and descriptions like “You won’t believe what happens next!”. The YouTube algorithm changes came to action, and the system was updated to focus on viewer satisfaction and not only the count of views. Now the system takes into account viewer satisfaction by measuring attributes like likes, dislikes, surveys, and time spent on the video. Also recently, people were complaining about too much similarity being served like, if You watched an Ice-cream making a video then you will be getting served with ice-cream related videos only, and this is not what a normal user will like to have. To tackle this, the YouTube algorithm changes helped by pulling in a recommendation from a wider set of topics. As per stats, YouTube serves more than 200 million recommended videos on the homepage alone.
A recent example on how YouTube is trying its best to save the platform from clogging with Trolling videos is when the YouTube algorithm changes saved “Captain Marvels” from trolls. It all started when Captain Marvel star, American actress Brie Larson decided to ask the press to include more female and people of color rather than involving only white men, who were mainly taking her interviews till then. This whole news made the internet world go mad and crazy.
She then became the victim of trolls who accused the actress of being sexist against men and tide of anger busted on a movie review website, Rotten Tomatoes, where users blamed her for making derogatory comments which in turn affected the excitement score which reflects the percentage of people interested in watching the movie. A thing, that could be done to save Captain Marvel’s page was to disable the excitement score and commenting on the page. Well, that was done!
When the internet was fuming in anger against Brie Larson, how could YouTube be left behind? Now YouTube became the hot ground where the hot rush of anger was seen with video uploads like, “ Brie Larson Totally Doesn’t Hate “White Men,” Captain Marvel Isn’t For “Whites,” Brie Larson Is Ruining Marvel!, Captain Marvel Reviews Suck and SJWs Blame it on Angry White Men. But YouTube did a very smart act to save the outage of trolling content on the platform by doing an algorithmic tweak. All it did was, reclassified Brie Larson’s name as a newsworthy search term. With being a news term, the content and videos returned by YouTube were accurate content from trustworthy mediums. A simple Algorithmic change just pushed away all the trolls and unauthorized content down the page.
There is still no point of clarity on how to distinguish when a topic becomes a newsworthy search, but this example just made it clear how powerful YouTube algorithm changes can be to save trustworthy content and how YouTube is standing high to fight fake content and conspiracy theories.
Vishal is a tech writer for Vidooly and a fan of everything related to Android. He loves exploring the nexus between tech, culture, space, and politics. He lies awake at night pondering over the myriad facets of life while also having an adventurous side to him. In his spare time, he enjoys watching sci-fi and drama series, reading psychology/politics fiction and playing brain games.