Google Presses Forward: The Changing Landscape of Youtube Comments
After releasing the statement in September’s blog post, YouTube has recently integrated its comments with Google+ so that any comment posted on a YouTube video will automatically come from and be linked to your Google+ profile. This has certainly been a controversial merge of the two networks to say the least, causing outrage and anger amongst thousands of users. Some of the reasons stated by Google for this move include: ‘Comments you care about moving to the top,’ and so there are ‘Better ways to moderate comments.’
However, many users aren’t in favour of this latest update and a petition against the change has now been signed with almost 200,000 signatures of users who are furious at the recent changes. One of the major factors for the backlash is the fact that you now need a Google+ profile to comment on any YouTube video. This straight away poses the question: Is this just Google’s way to increase numbers to their network? Fuelling them in the race against social rivals Facebook and Twitter?
By linking the comments you post with Google+, each comment can now be identified and tracked down to a name and a face, something which many users feel violates their privacy. It is no secret that many YouTube comments can be controversial, crude or negative and the majority of these posts are from anonymous accounts. This new update will now put a name to anyone who posts anything of this nature so that they can be identified along with spammers. Surely then this is a positive from the update as the number of people who post insulting comments from anonymous accounts and get away with it will now be minimised? That or the number of fake Google+ profiles will increase. Nevertheless, the invasion of privacy is something that has angered YouTube users who wish to keep their Google+ and YouTube networks separate. The freedom to post your views on videos without it being linked back to you has now gone. One user commented: “Why in the world would I want to use my full name on YouTube?” asked one. “Unless my name was literally John Doe I don’t want some random potential murderer able to track me down based on my YouTube content.”
The update also ensures that you will always see what is relevant to you by placing comments from within your Google+ circles at the top of the comments section. This feature is said to boost conversation amongst users regarding their comments on the videos, another advantage of the update according to Google. This is the statement given by Google: “When it comes to the conversations happening on YouTube, recent does not necessarily mean relevant. So, comments will soon become conversations that matter to you. In the coming months, comments from people you care about will rise up where you can see them, while new tools will help video creators moderate conversations for welcome and unwelcome voices.” Yet, do users want relevant or recent? Before the update, the top comment was normally a witty or clever comment, which had been either voted up by likes, with the most recent comments following beneath. This feature will now be taken away by Google+ comments at the top, showing what your connections comment on videos, not what the general view of the video is, which in some ways would be more relevant. This therefore should push you to add meaningful people to your circles, whose view you would value, comments you would like to see and people you would like to interact with in conversation.
What will happen?
So, what do you think of the update? Have you been on YouTube recently and noticed the new comment system? If you are someone who goes on YouTube just to look at videos and not comment or interact, the update won’t affect you as much as the YouTube community who frequency converse and discuss videos. These are the people who have been most angered by the integration and a big reason for this is the fact it wasn’t optional and the lack of knowledge they had regarding it. Following the petition against the update signed by almost 200,000 people and close to 500,000 posts on one forum alone regarding the subject, it will be interesting to see whether Google and YouTube will respond to the backlash or simply let users adjust without commenting on the matter. Either way it will be interesting to see the stats of both networks following the integration which has caused so much conversation. Will they have gained more users (as they surely would have hoped) by making it compulsory to have a Google+ account to comment on YouTube videos? Or will this update backfire on them resulting in a loss of users to both social platforms? What do you think? Let us know below.