YouTube Tries to Clean Up Its Act

With the economic recession beginning to affect even Google, news came out today that the web giant's YouTube property is making some major changes to its video service that are designed to clean up the site's image in the hopes of slowing the massive financial bleeding.

The policy changes were announced in a posting at the YouTube blog. An excerpt from the post is after the jump:

  • Stricter standard for mature content - While videos featuring pornographic images or sex acts are always removed from the site when they're flagged, we're tightening the standard for what is considered "sexually suggestive." Videos with sexually suggestive (but not prohibited) content will be age-restricted, which means they'll be available only to viewers who are 18 or older.

  • Demotion of sexually suggestive content and profanity - Videos that are considered sexually suggestive, or that contain profanity, will be algorithmically demoted on our 'Most Viewed,' 'Top Favorited,' and other browse pages. The classification of these types of videos is based on a number of factors, including video content and descriptions. In testing, we've found that out of the thousands of videos on these pages, only several each day are automatically demoted for being too graphic or explicit. However, those videos are often the ones which end up being repeatedly flagged by the community as being inappropriate.

  • Improved thumbnails - To make sure your thumbnail represents your video, your choices will now be selected algorithmically. You'll still have three thumbnails to choose from, but they will no longer be auto-generated from the 25/50/75 points in the video index. [Designed to stop people from gaming the thumbnail system with suggestive images which are irrelevant to the video.]

  • More accurate video information - Our Community Guidelines have always prohibited folks from attempting to game view counts by entering misleading information in video descriptions, tags, titles, and other metadata. We remain serious about enforcing these rules. Remember, violations of these guidelines could result in removal of your video and repeated violations will lead to termination of your account.

All of this is designed to try to boost YouTube's image and stop it from being viewed as a website for teenagers with dirty mouths. One hopes, however, that in its effort to clean up its non-political act when it comes to rogue users, YouTube also takes steps necessary to fix the problem of far-left and Islamist viewers censoring the free speech of others.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013