YouTube tries to fix its comments

YouTube is trying to fix its comments with a new system that ties all accounts to Google+

CNN News Wire | 9/24/2013, 12:52 p.m.
YouTube comments are rough. They dabble in all forms of trolling, bullying, racism, sexism and other offensive -isms, interspersed with ...
YouTube has a new plan to pull its infamous comments out of the muck and make them more constructive and personalized.

Video creators say these types of comment controls are long overdue on all sharing and social media sites. Previously, if a YouTube thread got out of hand the best option was to turn off comments. But this can be especially tricky for children’s content, such as the Fine Brothers’ “Kids React” series.

“Cyberbullying and hate speech in the YouTube comments have been a major issue for far too long,” said Benny and Rafi Fine. “Across nearly every video on the site involving race or young children, the uploader has always been pushed into a corner to have to turn comments off entirely or ... (screen them) to not let such horrible hatred come through.”

While some commenters on websites are truly racist or sexist, others are “trolls” who say hateful things just to incite a reaction from others for their own amusement. YouTube recognizes that the new changes won’t eliminate trolls completely because many people are more than willing to say horrible things under their real names, and anonymity is still an option in the new commenting system.

YouTube says the majority of YouTube commenter accounts are already linked to Google+ identities, which should minimize backlash. Anonymity is important for many YouTube users, such as political dissidents around the world who fear reprisals by their governments. To keep people protected, Google will not force them to post under their real names. And anyone can choose to continue posting under their current YouTube handle.

To test the waters, YouTube will roll out the commenting system on channel discussion pages this week. It will show up on all videos in the coming months. For anyone who prefers the current system, there’s still an option to view all comments in chronological order.

Heather Kelly | CNN