YouTube has a problem with its community. Comments are usually full of hate speech and general off-topic crap, giving moderators of channels a tedious task. There’s also the issue with wrongly flagged content nd other issues that plague creators on the platform. What’s Google’s answer to all of these problems? YouTube Heroes. I’m now going to run through why it’s a terrible idea.
So what are Heroes on YouTube? The initiative is set to put random accounts who sign up to become one the power to moderate not only channels they have access to, but also all other profiles too. I’m talking mass flagging videos, dealing with comments and more. The company is actually planning to provide these anonymous super-users with powers channel moderators should, but don’t have.
The main issue with this should be obvious. YouTube will be actively rewarding various “guests” on the platform for mass-flagging videos and enforcing all kinds of censorship without verification. Not only that, but by progressing through levels (because of course they’ve gamified the damn thing) one will eventually be able to directly communicate with YouTube staff. Say what?
The internet is a big place, and not everyone shares the same point of view. But that’s the beauty of humanity. We’re all different. That is until you have someone (or a group of people) who feel that a specific idea or said point of view shouldn’t be allowed, simply because they do not agree with it. This is where YouTube Heroes can cause issues.
There are channels that produce content which goes against certain thinking, which could be inaccurately flagged for removal or investigation due to being found as “offensive”. Interestingly, the YouTube team disabled comments on the above announcement video, which stems the flow of discussion and prevents the community to voice their concerns on a relevant video. Again, censorship.
Not only that but it actually appears as though Google is attempting to utilize the community to perform tasks that paid staff should really be responsible for. Moderating the community, trying out new features ahead of time, adding captions and subtitles to videos, and more. It’s as if the company wants to bring the community on board to do employee tasks, and this is a bad idea.
It doesn’t help when we round things off by looking at YouTube’s own guidelines, which I imagine these so-called “Heroes” will be encouraged to adhere to. What constitutes as offensive or “negative”? Is a video on abortion negative? Absolutely, but it could also be incredibly informative and supportive.
Why doesn’t YouTube simply provide these “super” tools to moderators of channels and content creators? I’m sure many popular channels would love to be able to contact YouTube staff directly. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯