YouTube comments process under scrutiny

By James Riches topicIcon Social Media

Mixed reaction to Google changes

Changes to the way users can comment on YouTube clips have been given a frosty reception by fans, with many displeased at having to sign up for Google+ before they can post their opinions.

Google announced the changes last week, having revealed its intention to improve the service back in September.

The three key features involve making it simpler to see relevant comments, allowing account holders to moderate comments more easily and letting posters control who sees what they have to say.

YouTube comments have frequently come in for criticism due to their occasionally abusive nature. Channel owners now have the power to control what can be posted on their clips, blocking certain words and making sure relevant comments rise to the top ahead of 'trolls'.

Comment moderation was not universally welcomed, with some suggesting it will allow account holders to eliminate legitimate negative comments and stifle debate.

YouTube co-founder unhappy with new system

However, Google's requirement that people wishing to comment must sign up for Google+ has caused the most consternation in some quarters.

This is despite the search engine's claims that "the majority of people commenting on YouTube" have already done so, and a reported 540 million monthly active users for the service.

YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim was arguably the most high profile dissenter on this subject. Reportedly paid $65 million when Google took over YouTube in 2007, Karim had previously only used his channel once, to post the first ever YouTube clip eight years ago.

His second contribution has now also attracted much attention, as he directed an expletive in Google's direction while questioning why he needed a Google+ account to post comments.

Google has yet to respond directly to Karim's outburst, but has already indicated this will make it easier for users to see comments from people in their Google+ circles.

Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, said: "This topic has clearly brought about a lot of debate among users. While Google's attempts to make YouTube comments 'cleaner' are well intentioned, it should be obvious by now that the online community simply doesn't like being forced to sign up for things they haven't asked for."