Home » YouTube has a (big) problem with spam. And with porn as well

YouTube has a (big) problem with spam. And with porn as well

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YouTube has a (big) problem with spam.  And with porn as well

Between 2020 and 2022, i.e. in the two years of the pandemic, YouTube has seen its popularity grow tremendouslywith more and more people using the site (or app) instead of traditional television, to watch content they really care about.

Google’s video platform has 2.6 billion active users per month and every minute more than 500 hours of content are uploaded, that is 30 thousand hours every hour; Additionally, the number of hours of content uploaded every minute grew by 40% between 2014 and 2020. Those are staggering numbers, and they make every problem, no matter how small, a big problemsimply because of the size that YouTube has reached and the size of the audience it can reach.

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YouTube and the spam problem

And at the moment one of the biggest problems, for anyone on YouTube, as a creator or as a simple viewer, is that of spam: just scroll through the Comments section of any moderately successful video to come across a impressive amount of harassing, annoying or even dangerous advertisements. They are generally of two types: there are those who advertise red light content, with links to sites of dubious reliability, and there are those who pretend to be the author of the video in question (starting with the nickname) and invite people to contact him via Telegram for enter a contest, win a prize, donate money. These are obviously all lies, and the ultimate purpose of these comments is probably to trick people, steal their personal data or their money. Or both.

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The youtubers themselves started complaining about the matter, including those bigger and more important, who work with YouTube (and also earn a lot of money): the latest was the young Marques Brownlee, who now has nearly 16 million followers and whose video YouTube Needs to Fix This has exceeded 2 million views in a couple of days. According to Brownlee, who has been on YouTube for over 14 years, the problem is getting bigger and bigger as the app’s popularity grows, with dozens of people writing to me every day to find out how to enter the contest I mentioned. with them, even if I haven’t talked about any competition with them “. More: on some videos, spam comments would be over 30% of the total. Does this thing happen? We’ve gotten to the point that 1 comment out of 3 is spam, garbage, unwanted advertising or hides some phishing attempt, a malevolent hook that, thrown into such a large sea, will inevitably end up catching some fish.

And here comes the question, asked by Brownlee but also by many other creators: why doesn’t YouTube deal with this? How is it possible that Google allows all this and has not yet found a way to filter this type of comments, to block those who pretend to be someone else or even those who copy the youtubers and take advantage of their image to try to defraud people? Yeah, how is that possible? We have asked the question to YouTube Italy: “Using a combination of people and technology, we remove comments that violate our own guidelines (which are these, ed)“, they explained to us, recalling that” between October and December 2021, we have removed over 1.2 billion commentsmost of which were spam “and that” over 99.5% of removed comments were automatically detected. “Yet, from what we understand, YouTube does not seem to feel that the situation is getting worse. (as instead we have viewers and evidently have the creators) and not the company it does not seem willing to deploy new tools to counter this annoying phenomenon.

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YouTube and the problem of (soft) porn

It’s not over, because the video giant has another open question. Which is perhaps even more difficult to solve. Because There is a ton of porn on YouTube, although in theory there shouldn’t be any at all. It is not the porn that you see on the sites dedicated to the topic, because that would be intercepted and blocked by the moderation algorithms: it is another type, softer. And therefore even more subtle and complicated to stem.

A few examples? The videos of Asmr (those based on sound stimuli) in which someone, usually a young girl and more or less dressed, whispers in someone else’s ear, strokes a microphone with their fingers, runs their tongue over a lollipop and so on. The videos where someone (here is almost always a pretty young girl) reviews various products, but does so by being in lingerie. Again: the so-called speed cleaning video, which was talked about a lot at the beginning of 2019in which very lightly dressed men and women film themselves while cleaning the house, after having positioned the cameras in strategic points to be filmed and filmed from the right angles.

What are these videos for? To whet the imagination, of course. Above all, to spin the link to the pages on OnlyFans of the protagonists or to their link trees (things?), from where you are then sent back to OnlyFans. Which is where the real porn content (no soft) is found and where those who make it make the real money.

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Why is this a problem for YouTube? For the Google video-upload platform there is first of all a question of image and positioning: if it wants to sell itself as a welcoming place for families, for people of all ages, including children and adolescents, it definitely cannot tolerate the presence of this content. Then, there is the question of the relationship with youtubers who play by the rules and abide by policies without trying to get around them, and understandably are annoyed by the fact that those who create this content go unpunished. Then again there is the crux of advertising investors: On YouTube, commercials have grown in number and importance over the past couple of years and are a significant source of income for Google, but companies don’t like being associated with porn, soft or otherwise.

Ma it is not just a question of money and imagebecause leaving such a door open could allow access to really dangerous people, such as sexual predators: 3 years ago, YouTube found itself address the case of pedophiles who commented on videos where children were present, pointing out the moments in which they were in poses (according to them) allusive. Then, the platform intervened decisively and firmly. Who knows if he will decide to do it even now.

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