New YouTube algorithm causes controversy for creators

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A recent update from YouTube launched back in July has caused a lot of outrage for many content creators, according to a recent report from Bloomberg. The purpose of this significant update was to provide more visibility to children’s content, causing a spike in viewership for some channels, and a decline for others.

YouTube released a statement, explaining that “We make hundreds of changes every year to make it easier for people to find what they want to watch on YouTube. We recently made one such change that improves the ability for users to find quality family content.”

However, according to creators on YouTube, this was not communicated or explained effectively, and as a result has left many people confused and angry. This is because some channels that produce content for children have experienced a drastic improvement in viewership, whilst other channels producing similar videos have seen a big drop in engagement.

This notable drop in viewers has not improved over the past few weeks, and some creators are considering not producing further content until their viewing numbers have returned.

It appears that the update is targeting channels that produce animated content for kids with the intention of picking up a high amount of views on their videos. This is effectively YouTube hoping to hone in on people deemed to be exploiting its algorithm, but has caused channels that painstakingly produce high quality content for children to receive a big drop in viewers as well.

This update has been seen by many as disruptive and unnecessary, causing major fluctuation’s in views, subscribers and content to many creators. These changes have proved hard to recover from and many people are still wondering as to why they were introduced in the first place. Bloomberg have also said that YouTube hasn’t explained what they define as ‘quality’ and how their algorithms determine which video deserves to be promoted.

It is speculated that the update is mainly introduced to appease the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), which has previously inspected YouTube on their handling of kid’s privacy. Some channels have seen a boost in viewers from this update, such as well-established kids’ channels like PBS kids and Mother Goose Club.

The algorithm update was introduced both on the main network and the YouTube kids’ app, so the algorithm is sourcing family friendly content for a large number of viewers, even if many do not watch this type of content.

It seems that YouTube is doing its best to improve upon the overall usability and friendliness towards children, with disturbing and adult videos being readily available for children to view on their site, such as the recent ‘MoMo’ videos that were watched by a number of kids, both terrifying kids and encouraging them to put themselves in dangerous situations.

Whilst this is definitely the way forward for the company, the update seems to of alienated dedicated creators, who have lost a vast number of viewers over the past month, which they have worked tirelessly and for a very long time to get.

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