YouTube is part of the problem

Anya Ristow

Bernie Bro
Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Messages
785
SL Rez
2006
Joined SLU
Nov 2007
SLU Posts
2999
YouTube is getting more aggressive with forcing mid-rolls on creators. This is just going to make more people use ad blockers.
I think per-ad revenue has fallen off a cliff, so they are rolling more ads.

Creators are able to put breaks in their timelines, and that seems like a tool they could use to create breaks for mid-rolls. But eight in a 30-minute video? Very little youtube content is worthy of ad breaks at all.

The dollar value they put on your time is insulting. Something like four tenths of a penny if you watch the ad. To demonstrate my willingness to participate in a more sensible funding model, I subscribe to youtube premium, rather than just running an ad blocker. But if they start rolling ads on premium (and they will), I'm out.
 

Cristalle

Lady of the House
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Messages
1,360
Location
Flori-duh
SL Rez
2006
Joined SLU
July 8, 2008
SLU Posts
2903
I have premium, so I don't see the ads at all. Came with my music subscription.
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
3,010
Location
Portland, OR
SL Rez
2003
SLU Posts
4494
For a short time I played some videos of fans whirring. Also for a short time, my youtube front page was nothing but videos of fans whirring, some for 10 hours.
 
  • 1LOL
  • 1ROFL
Reactions: bubblesort and Free

Free

Antifa-tigued
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 22, 2018
Messages
18,285
Location
Moonbase Caligula
SL Rez
2008
Joined SLU
2009
SLU Posts
55565
YouTube is rolling out more artificial intelligence-powered technology to catch more videos that may require age restrictions, meaning more viewers will be asked to sign into their accounts to verify their age before watching.

Similar to how YouTube used machine learning techniques to try to better catch violent extremism and more of the platform’s most severe content beginning in 2017, and later to find videos that included hateful conduct, the same approach will be used in this case to automatically flag videos YouTube deems not age-appropriate. As a result, YouTube is expecting to see far more videos pop up with age-gated restrictions.

The company is preparing for there to be some mistakes in labeling, as is the case with any rollout of AI moderation tech. And as part of the changes, people watching YouTube videos embedded on third-party sites will be redirected to YouTube to sign in and verify their age.
 
  • 1LOL
Reactions: Fionalein

Lexxi

meow
Joined
Sep 26, 2018
Messages
303
SL Rez
2007
Joined SLU
12-14-2007
SLU Posts
6381
Yeah, I'm not signing into Youtube.
 

Kamilah Hauptmann

Shitpost Sommelier
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
9,020
Location
Cat Country (Can't Stop Here)
SL Rez
2002
The learning algorithms that social media companies like Facebook and YouTube use to categorize, spotlight, and deliver relevant user-created content, which many of these companies like to call AI (although it isn't, not really), will obviously reflect the personalities of the users. Without intervention and tweaking by administrators, when your site is full of racists the algorithm learns to curate content like a nazi would. When your site has enough misogynists, the algorithm will be misogynist. And when enough of your users are pedophiles, the algorithm starts liking and promoting videos of kids in skimpy swimsuits in the Recommended list next to soft-core porn.

A year later it's Qanon pedo chasing everywhere.
 
  • 1Like
  • 1Agree
Reactions: Govi and Dakota Tebaldi

Dakota Tebaldi

Well-known member
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
5,333
Location
Gulf Coast, USA
Joined SLU
02-22-2008
SLU Posts
16791
A year later it's Qanon pedo chasing everywhere.
That's true, but Qanon is a different thing though. Qanon chases an imaginary campfire-story version of pedos, not real pedos. Their angle on the YouTube situation isn't "a limited and poorly-conceived system being taken advantage of by randopedos", it's, "YouTube is run by the evil cabal and is consciously, deliberately designed to aggregate and promote content of pedophilic interest and serve that content to pedophiles", which is delusional just like every other Q take.

And like every other part of Q except for the Trump-specific parts, it didn't originate with Qanon but was absorbed into it from a separate conspiracy theory some of whose proponents ended up becoming Trump supporters after Trump appeared. Have you ever heard of "Elsagate"?

This is actually an interesting thing, so let me explain it at you!

The Elsagate horror is over now or at least has like vastly waned for the most part because YouTube changed the system it was designed to exploit; but two and three years ago it caused a big ruckus when people started stumbling upon these low effort computer-generated animated kids videos, thousands upon thousands of them, featuring cheap versions of popular kids' characters like SpiderMan and Elsa from Frozen, all following one of a couple of specific formats. Many of them were nursery rhyme videos, all featuring the exact same music track but with different characters. Others had vague and simplistic "plots", stock sound effects, and never any dialogue. As time went on it became apparent that all of the videos were put together from a certain limited set of character, environment, and animation assets which grew over time to include whatever kids seemed to be interested in lately.

Later on direct copies of many of these videos were produced with live actors wearing superhero costumes (though still no dialogue); but It's been suggested that the 2D and 3D animated videos might have been generated automatically by some kind of algorithm rather than actual people, because whatever was doing the asset-gathering didn't seem very intelligent or discerning; for instance when adult YouTubers, making fun of these videos, made their own parodies that included intentional acts of extreme violence or scatological humor or other not-family-friendly things, and those videos became popular, the "real" videos eventually started unironically including these elements too. There was more than one group doing this - I mean it was obvious that the actors-in-costumes guys weren't responsible for the 3D-animated cartoons for instance, but it was also obvious that they were directly copying them to achieve the same goal because they saw that it was working.

And that goal, if it isn't obvious, was to make money off of YouTube's monetization program with the least possible effort, by exploiting children...kind of. More specifically, they were exploiting the habit of many parents to use YouTube as a babysitter for actual babies and very young children. Here's how it worked: when you watch a video, YouTube generates a "suggested videos" list in the sidebar - you already know this. You probably also know that once a video you're watching ends, under normal settings if you don't do anything YouTube will automatically start playing whatever video was at the top of that list, and that next video will have its own generated "suggested videos" list, etc. So a parent CAN do a simple search for something like "superhero video" or "elsa video", set that video to play in front of their toddler, and they can be relatively confident that Uncle YouTube will continue to serve up video after video of the same kind all by itself forever until the parent decides to stop it. Whatever entity was making these sort of procedurally-generated "kids videos", was counting on parents to be doing exactly that - because (at that time at least) YouTube pointedly didn't care whether the ads were being seen by toddlers who could barely understand English, a view was a view and you got paid. The video makers didn't even pretend otherwise; the titles of each of their videos were literally an incomprehensible salad of keywords intended only to help YouTube's internal processes find the video and get it into the "suggested videos" lists so that as many of their videos would find their way onto screens via autoplay, and the Ad Money would flow and flow. The whole racket is genuinely a little fascinating (to me at least) and you can watch a pretty good explanation of it all here:


But yeah, "Elsagate". Okay so, we know the purpose of these videos was ad revenue and that's it. But....there's a lot of people on the internet who don't think that way. They saw these videos, especially the ones featuring violence against the characters or the scatological stuff, as incredibly disturbing (which, yeah, kinda) and unquestionably, severely psychologically damaging to any child who watched them (eh...probably not). Having very little knowledge of either the realities of YouTube's internal operation or how incredibly easy videos like these would be to churn out even in their thousands with extremely little effort, if not by a completely automated process altogether, they just could not entertain the possibility that anything less than a very large company of people was involved, who simply could not have had any goal in mind other than deliberately mindf***ing and traumatizing children. Basically they decided that this was flat out the CIA doing some kind of MKUltra mind-control program conditioning babies and toddlers to be passive targets for pedo kidnappers by making them watch "Monkeys on the Bed" or "Johnny Johnny Yes Papa" a hundred different times with different characters each time or watching Doctor Joker give pregnant Elsa a shot in the ass that made her preggo-belly go away.

I'll admit I think that, narratively, it was a fun idea. And I'm not the only one who thought to, either; an author on the horror fiction subreddit NoSleep was inspired to write a story in which the narrator is a computer programmer who was hired by a mysterious company that ended up producing videos like these, with his life being threatened by his managers when he started poking around and Learned Too Much. The story was apparently mistaken for nonfiction in China and prompted the Chinese government to ban all videos of this type domestically, along with related search terms (you can't search for "pregnant Elsa" in China now).
 
  • 1Gross
Reactions: Sovereignty

Dakota Tebaldi

Well-known member
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
5,333
Location
Gulf Coast, USA
Joined SLU
02-22-2008
SLU Posts
16791

YouTube's joke was funny because it's true, but also not funny because it's YouTube's own fault that it's true.
 

Aribeth Zelin

Faeryfox
Joined
Sep 23, 2018
Messages
2,696
SL Rez
2004
Joined SLU
03-11-2011
SLU Posts
9410
That might work better for me than etsy or facebook?
 

Beebo Brink

Climate Apocalypse Alarmist
Joined
Sep 20, 2018
Messages
3,356
SL Rez
2006

YouTube's joke was funny because it's true, but also not funny because it's YouTube's own fault that it's true.
Could someone kindly translate the cultural concepts and assumptions into a form that I understand? It feels like I'm reading a foreign language.
 
  • 1Thanks
Reactions: Govi

Dakota Tebaldi

Well-known member
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
5,333
Location
Gulf Coast, USA
Joined SLU
02-22-2008
SLU Posts
16791
Not so much, but thanks anyway. I'm just too old/out of touch for somethings, apparently.
Sorry! Didn't see this before the storm stuff. ^^

Okay so, if you ever go to YouTube nowadays and check out a channel that has a specific individual for a host - so like a vlog channel, or a self-appointed political commentator, or some person who reviews movies or games or whatever - all these videos tend to start in a very similar way, with the host belting out some variation of

HEY THERE all you beautiful people on YouTube, it's your favorite [channelsubject] YouTuber [hostname] here, back atcha with another video - and this one's going to be AMAZING guys, we've got so much to talk about; including [topic] and [currentnewsitem]...AND then of course [clickbaittopicmentionedinthevideotitle]. BUT BEFORE WE GET INTO ALL THAT, today's video is sponsored by [very long personalized ad for a popular YouTube sponsor like SquareSpace, Dollar Shave Club, Crunchyroll, RAID SHADOW LEGENDS, etc]. And of course if you like what you see please don't forget to SMASH that Like button and remember to Subscribe and Share with all your friends and also hit that Bell icon to get notifications whenever I post a new video....SOOOOOO with all that out of the way, let's DIVE RIGHT INTO THE VIDEO!
Just like the joke YouTube tweeted, prattling on and on for a long time before finally "getting right into the video!". The problem was, YouTube itself doesn't really have a right to make that joke, because they're the reason creators have to prattle on and on before actually starting the on-topic content. The creators aren't filling that time with arbitrary nothingness; it's all actually necessary because YouTube has reduced video and channel popularity and profitability into mathematical metrics driven by what it calls "Engagement". It's not just views - YouTube's algorithm will surface any single video that goes viral with enough views - but in order to get your channel and videos promoted more regularly your channel has to get not only views but Engagement - interactions like commenting, gaining subscribers, the video being shared and hotlinked from offsite, and so forth. The higher you score in these metrics, the higher your stuff appears in YouTube's search results, and the more likely stuff is to make the front page. So to encourage that Engagement, the beginnings of creators' videos are typically filled with what's called "Calls to Action", sucking up to viewers and begging them to please Like, Subscribe, and Share the creator's channel and videos and otherwise tangibly interact with the channel beyond just watching the video - calls that will often be repeated sometime during the video and almost always once again at the end. They have no real choice because, ad-revenue wise, you live or die by the metrics.

Many creators during their spiel will even explicitly invite you to thumbs-down (i.e. dislike) the video if you didn't like it, and to explain in the comments why - and that's not because they're earnestly interested in the criticism, it's because a comment is a comment as far as the algorithm is concerned, and thumbs-downing is still engagement (the algorithm will treat a mass-downvoting of a video the same as a mass-upvoting for search placement purposes).
 
Last edited:

Free

Antifa-tigued
VVO Supporter 🍦🎈👾❤
Joined
Sep 22, 2018
Messages
18,285
Location
Moonbase Caligula
SL Rez
2008
Joined SLU
2009
SLU Posts
55565
Joined
Sep 19, 2018
Messages
3,010
Location
Portland, OR
SL Rez
2003
SLU Posts
4494
Youtube may be part of the problem but the RIAA doesn't want you to download videos from there. They have had the open source repo youtube-dl on github shut down.


It is ok with them if you get it from other sources though it seems, as the Internet Archive has it.
ytdl-org/youtube-dl
There is a green button saying Code on that page which has an option to download .zip.

The Python package index has it too.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 26, 2018
Messages
2,999
SL Rez
2002
The beauty of git is that it is distributed; so good luck trying to shut down all the local copies around the world, RIAA idiots.