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YouTube Is Fighting the 'Adpocalypse' With a Less Trigger-Happy Flagging System (theverge.com) 218

YouTube has rolled out a new algorithm that the company says will more accurately reflect YouTube's guidelines for ad-friendly material and result in fewer videos being flagged as advertiser-friendly. "It will supposedly reduce the number of demonetized listings by 30 percent, so 'millions more videos' will be able to make money off the full range of advertisements," reports The Verge. From the report: A YouTube manager writes that the new algorithm was trained by nearly three months' worth of human reviews, starting after YouTube added a manual appeals process for creators in August. Theoretically, this should narrow the range of false positives -- videos that were incorrectly flagged for promoting drug use, using excessive profanity, highlighting gratuitous violence, or otherwise featuring content that advertisers might find objectionable. It's being applied retroactively, so creators who didn't appeal could still get some old videos remonetized. Google also encourages people to keep appealing potentially incorrect flags, because "this updated system is an improvement, but it's not perfect."
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YouTube Is Fighting the 'Adpocalypse' With a Less Trigger-Happy Flagging System

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  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @08:27PM (#55448317) Homepage Journal
    It is 2017 people. Who is still viewing Youtube without an adblocker???
    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      Which adblocker blocks Youtube ads?

      Mostly I just try to avoid the site these days because the ads are so annoying.

      • Re:Advertising (Score:5, Informative)

        by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @08:35PM (#55448365) Homepage Journal
        All of them? I don't get it. I personally use a HOSTS file blocker produced from a genius called APK. Ever heard of him?
      • I just see "cleaned by Adblock for Youtube", so I guess this one does...
      • Basic ad-block plus on Firefox, and I have never seen a youtube ad there. I hadn't even realized youtube had advertisements at the start of videos until I started trying to use youtube on my TV instead of computer.

        For the TV, I have a basic adblock running on my router. It does not block all ads though, but I think it is blocking some. I need to rework the blacklist some more though. When I do see an ad on youtube I will often skip it, and sometimes I'll skip the stupid video altogether.

        I don't care one

      • uBlock Origin does. AdBlock Plus does.

        Safe to say any ad blocker worth its salt does.

    • I get a little money from YouTube ads. It doesn't come anywhere near to paying for the hours that go into making my content. I'm okay with that but the more money I get the easier it is to justify the time spent. I used to be like you and think I was cool for knowing what an adblocker is.
      • Then you should complain to YouTube that too many people arenâ(TM)t watching the ads. I started blocking the ads when 15s became an unskippable 1:30. At one point they were even allowing full other YouTube movies as âoeadsâ although they eventually became skippable after 30s.

        And the worst thing is that I donâ(TM)t care for any of the ads, I donâ(TM)t need a new car, Iâ(TM)m too poor to buy most of the luxury items and Iâ(TM)m really not interested in makeups and perfume.

      • Ads frequently contain malware. You are stupid if you allow it. Adblocking isn't "cool", it is necessary.
        • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
          There is no malware in youtube ads so it's easy to make an exception. unless you are using one of those inflexible, stupid host file systems.
      • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

        I get a little money from YouTube ads. It doesn't come anywhere near to paying for the hours that go into making my content. I'm okay with that but the more money I get the easier it is to justify the time spent. I used to be like you and think I was cool for knowing what an adblocker is.

        I love that this got modded troll. People are really touchy when it comes to their perceived entitlement to be entertained for free.

    • I have 1 browser with an ad-blocker and 1 without. I use the no-blocker browser when I want to be signed in to Google and rate or comment on YouTube videos. I don't mind getting a 5 second YT ad or one I can skip after 5 seconds with that browser, but when it gets too long I switch back to my other browser (with blocking). I don't have the time or inclination to put up with 30 second ads, sorry Google. That's why I don't listen to radio or subscribe to cable. Even commercial skipping pisses me off. So
    • Yeah I'v heard that every time some one install an adblocker, a anonymous donation in the millions is made to Youtube in order to sustain their infrastructure.
    • I have an ad blocker but I turn it off for my subscribed channels so the creators can get a few shekels at least.

    • It is 2017 people. Who is still viewing Youtube without an adblocker???

      In 2017, when was the last time you were able to go to a Web page that did not require you to turn off your adblocker?

      • It is 2017 people. Who is still viewing Youtube without an adblocker???

        In 2017, when was the last time you were able to go to a Web page that did not require you to turn off your adblocker?

        I think I've only run across a couple, it was 2016 when I saw a lot and that tended to mark the last time I visited that site. I still get to a lot of places, and a few attempts to hold content hostage for my turning off my adblocker may have gone unnoticed because I also require scripts get whitelisted, and none of the places I dropped are particularly missed.

        I prefer not having to deal with prying malware off my systems. As long as they don't show awareness and respect for the fact that I don't want to

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      My GF refused to install one until I stealthily put Ublock Origin on the living room gaming/vr rig I set up. After a couple of weeks of browsing on that, she was actually angry about how shitty the internet is without an ad blocker.
    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Sure, what about on smart TVs, AppleTV, etc.? :P

  • there it is. right there. see?
  • The problem I see (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @08:41PM (#55448383)
    is folks flagging stuff as 'controversial' because they disagree with it. Lots of the left wing channels got flagged. But even some science channels got flagged by the anti-climate change folks and the 'intelligent design' crowd.
    • Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @08:55PM (#55448443) Homepage Journal

      is folks flagging stuff as 'controversial' because they disagree with it. Lots of the left wing channels got flagged. But even some science channels got flagged by the anti-climate change folks and the 'intelligent design' crowd.

      The simplest solution would be for Google to simply say "all or nothing".

      I've never understood why companies want to wade into arguments about what is acceptable speech. It's killing Hollywood, the NFL, CNN, the NYT, the professional lives of many high-profile people, and a whole lot of companies such as Twitter and Kelloggs.

      Google could step up and say "It's not our job to regulate speech. If you want to advertize with us, it's all or nothing". It would be simple, easy, and cheap to implement.

      As a second choice, they could say "If you want to specify which YouTube videos your ads get served to, give us a list. Otherwise, it's not our job to regulate or even *categorize* speech".

      Trying to second-guess what advertizers find objectionable is a foolish goal.

      If the advertizers have concerns, it should be their job to police it.

      • They tried that (Score:4, Insightful)

        by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @10:10PM (#55448627)
        it was their old system. It lead to a few adverts showing up on Neo-Nazi channels. The advertisers freaked out thinking they'd be associated with supporting Nazis and pulled their ads. Like it or not youtube, like tv, has to worry about offending people since people who get offended are loud. Annoying, but loud.
        • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

          The advertisers freaked out thinking they'd be associated with supporting Nazis and pulled their ads.

          Which is the real problem. It's retarded to think people will associate you with the video content, it's obvious you're just advertising on the site as a whole.

          • by arth1 ( 260657 )

            Which is the real problem. It's retarded to think people will associate you with the video content, it's obvious you're just advertising on the site as a whole.

            The problem isn't just associations, but that you may have an objection to advertising to particular group. If I sell Nordic clothing, I may have a real objection to neo-nazis even seeing my ads and buying my products. If I sell condoms, I may have a real objection to my ads being shown on channels which will cause a barrage of hateful mail and phone calls.

            I think the advertisers should be able to choose, but I think they should be provided with enough information to make informed choices. Overly broad

            • Which is the real problem. It's retarded to think people will associate you with the video content, it's obvious you're just advertising on the site as a whole.

              The problem isn't just associations, but that you may have an objection to advertising to particular group. If I sell Nordic clothing, I may have a real objection to neo-nazis even seeing my ads and buying my products. If I sell condoms, I may have a real objection to my ads being shown on channels which will cause a barrage of hateful mail and phone calls.

              I think the advertisers should be able to choose, but I think they should be provided with enough information to make informed choices. Overly broad classifications do not seem all that useful.

              SRSLY? Your examples require blocking of viewers, not ads. Do you think that a Nazi is somehow not capable of looking at your ads, or that the Duggar's won't ever see an ad for condoms?

              If an advertiser wants only a specific audience and no other to see their product ads, there is no solution.

              • by arth1 ( 260657 )

                SRSLY? Your examples require blocking of viewers, not ads. Do you think that a Nazi is somehow not capable of looking at your ads, or that the Duggar's won't ever see an ad for condoms?

                I am not a binary thinker, and do not think everything has to be black or white, win or lose, success or failure. I think a reduction in exposure to unwanted audiences is a worthwhile thing in itself, even if only partially effective.

            • they just want it to work. Youtube promises advertisers that their algorithms will target likely buyers to push them over the edge into becoming customers or find those folks who are forgetting your brand and bring them back to the fold. The last thing and advertiser wants to do on youtube is the hard work of figuring out who to market to. If they were going to do that they wouldn't need youtube...
        • Which was really only advertisers being politically correct, YouTube couldâ(TM)ve let the whole thing blow over and/or allowed a way for advertisers to specify channel filters. Ad companies would never have used it because they really donâ(TM)t care as long as people see the ads and buy the stuff and everyone else wouldâ(TM)ve been happy and the SJW appeased.

        • it was their old system. It lead to a few adverts showing up on Neo-Nazi channels. The advertisers freaked out thinking they'd be associated with supporting Nazis and pulled their ads. Like it or not youtube, like tv, has to worry about offending people since people who get offended are loud. Annoying, but loud.

          While most reasonable people would have no issue with demonetizing Nazi or White supremacist channels, Youtube's original "solution" ended up as people trying to squelch others.

          The Young Turks or the MGTOW channels might have opinions that some folks don't like, but the concept of trying to put them out of business simply because you don't like their opinion is dumb.

          Its a little amusing that the middle-far left has discovered a tool once used mainly by the religious right. Boycotting only works a smal

      • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
        Re "I've never understood why companies want to wade into arguments about what is acceptable speech."
        Place a political sign for an election in the front yard..
        Will the electric, telephone, gas, internet and water company stop all services as they don't like the local politics?

        Once a few big "social" media sites get too big they become a service needed to interact with local, state, federal governments?
        People have their freedom of speech but won't be found by a search engine, have their political com
      • That would require Google actually having some balls.

        The pussification will continue until everything is offensive (to someone.)

        --
        Hate Speech IS censorship.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        A lot of advertisers would leave it. For them the damage of being on pro-Nazi videos, for example, would far outweigh any benefit.

        • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

          It's actually not. For years this worked fine until some far left activists (ie. the old media) started making a load of noise about "some neo-Nazi videos". Until then people didn't give a shit and nor should they.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Wait wait wait... The "old media" are far left activists? You mean like the Daily Mail and Fox News?

            I can't think who else you could mean... It's the Morning Star still going?

            • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

              CNN, NBC, the BBC, Al Jazeera, The NYT, and basically every other non-alternative news outlet.

              • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                The BBC and Al Jazeera are far left activists? What. The. Fuck.

                What does that make the Socialist Worker, the New European and the Morning Star? What about actual communists?

                So do you consider Brietbart to be far right, or nearer the centre? If the latter, what about Storm Front and literal Nazis, where are they on this scale?

            • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

              Wait wait wait... The "old media" are far left activists? You mean like the Daily Mail and Fox News?

              You man CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC(and ABC AUS) Guardian, CBC, CTV, Global, Globe and Mail, NYT, Washington Post, USA Today? Boy oh boy, we got 2 vs all of those other ones. Well actually 3, because you forgot to rail against breitbart.

              • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                You think CNN, NBC, the Guardian and the WaPo are far left activists?

                I think your political scale is miscalibrated. If the Guardian, widely regarded as a fairly centrist newspaper in the UK, is in your mind a far left activist then what are actual communists? Where does the Morning Star lie on your axis? Even the Mirror is much further left than the Guardian and way left of the WaPo.

        • No it wouldnâ(TM)t. They wouldâ(TM)ve switched ad agencies and continue doing what theyâ(TM)re doing as soon as everything blew over. Corporations really donâ(TM)t care what they are put on as long as it is profitable, if there is a demographic within ISIS they wouldâ(TM)ve been glad to advertise to them.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            If they marketed to ISIS they would quickly find that other customers started to avoid them. Like how Tiki torches are desperate not to become associated with Nazis because it would make their other customers buy fewer and the Nazi market isn't that big.

      • The simplest solution would be for Google to simply say "all or nothing".

        No, an even simpler solution would be to not run any ads at all. It's even simpler than yours since they wouldn't have the burden of running the ad infrastructure. Of course then they wouldn't make any money.

        And that's where your simplest solution falls down: they tried it since it's cheap and it turned out they didn't make as much money as they could because major advertisers left.

        If the advertizers have concerns, it should be their j

        • Walmart does. They are big enough they can tell their suppliers what to do. Walmart knows that their suppliers canâ(TM)t lose them.

          Donâ(TM)t want to advertise on Google platforms and they would lose their demographic.

          • um what?

            Wal-Mart is their customer, so what you're saying is that the vendor can't afford to piss off their customers. Which is true.

            • by guruevi ( 827432 )

              What I'm saying it works both ways. Google is the ad agency's customer, the vendor of the ads can't afford to piss off their customer (Google) either.

      • Companies don't want to get dragged into free speech debates, but sometimes they have no choice.

        Take the NFL, for example. Some years back they started injecting more patriotism into their games - anthem singing, flags everywhere. It was great, almost everyone loved it (America being a country where displays of patriotism are widely admired), and they even got some government grant money for it.

        Then a few players decide they don't want to take part, as they no longer feel they admire the country to that ext

        • Funny, because when NFL players wanted to do something against... for example breast cancer... the NFL prevented them... but then when it became about BLM the NFL caved in...
      • I've never understood why companies want to wade into arguments about what is acceptable speech.

        Because other companies who do business with you only want to be associated with acceptable speech and don't want the burden of identifying that to fall on themselves.

        Youtube didn't really care about this until the likes of Pepsi stopped giving them wheelbarrows of money.

    • I actually see it rather prominently done on the other side. Pretty much every video of every channel that's dedicated to firearms sports is immediately demonetized... no matter how tame, apolitical, or polite it is.

      • It's done on both sides of the political spectrum, as well as a lot of content that isn't political at all. The only difference I've noticed is that a slightly higher proportion of right-wing YouTubers seem to think it's only happening to them, and blame it on "left wing media bias," whereas the lefties call it "corporate media bias."

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I can only speak for the leftist circles I move in, but we are well aware that it's 4chan and right wing YouTube users. They discuss it quite openly, there is no need to guess.

          Anyway, we have a better technique. Check out Operation Shiny Object. A guy called "Bearing" has been harassing small YouTube channels, with his mob of supporters. But he has a weakness: he can't resist responding to criticism. All we had to do was make a quick video or two every week and he couldn't resist making a long response, whi

          • I think we're talking about two different but related things: the "it" I'm referring to is YouTube demonetizing videos, whereas you seem to be talking about groups of people deliberately flagging videos as offensive.(?) My only point is that the demonetizing happens to everybody, not just the left or the right.

      • Youtube is international. Gun videos might be seen a good fun in the US, but elsewhere in the country a love of guns is seen as suspicious.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Makes sense. Stupid people cannot accept voices disagreeing with them, because they cannot grasp the idea that they may be wrong themselves. Hence they create a filter-bubble and make the world a bit worse for everybody.

      Anyways, I much rather give to Patreon for my favorite creators and block ads completely.

      • Bad ideas require censorship to survive. Else even stupid people could easily see how stupid the ideas and those following them are.

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Yes, they very much do require censorship. Which is why we are seeing censorship and its ugly little sibling "chilling effects" on the raise all in the west.

    • Lots of the "right" wing channels continually get flagged. But keep playing the victim card you leftist communist.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      Politics is one controversial category. Religion is another.
      It's fine to flag those, but they need to be distinguished. One advertiser might be fine with political controversy, but don't want to be associated with religious views. Another might be the opposite.
      And I think they should have an informed choice where they put their advertising dollars.
      But that means finding out exactly why people found it controversial, and not just that.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @11:47PM (#55448807)

    If a viable alternative becomes available, they will be gone, even if it is years from now.
    Morale: Do not do something like this to people you critically depend on.

    • by ka9dgx ( 72702 )

      A lot of people think that creators won't move to a new platform until a new, BIGGER audience can be found somewhere else. I believe that any minimally viable video platform that has monitization that works at all, and can import back catalogs in some sort of reasonable manner is all that is required to start an avalanche. That shift would start with simply having content on multiple platforms, and letting viewers try out the new platform.

      The creators are pissed, and intelligent viewers will realize that p

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Indeed. Same here. YouTube does not have exclusivity and it is not _their_ content in the first place. They seem to have forgotten that.

      • It needn't even be bigger. If someone who now has a million viewers that pay him nothing because he's demonetized and could have 10k elsewhere where he actually gets paid for it, he's gone. Because 10k times x (with x > 0) is more than a million times zero.

      • In fact some of the biggest youtube channels have even bigger audiences outside of youtube. Joe Rogan says he gets way more views and makes way more money on podcast subscriptions than he does youtube monetization, and this is a guy that easily surpasses 1 billion views per year just on youtube.

        Basically the internet has greatly surpassed traditional media as far as viewership numbers go, and its not even close any more. Its the big secret that the media will not talk about.
    • If your business model is "You make the content, we make the profit", you have to give people a reason to make content for you.

  • it's out of control (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Saturday October 28, 2017 @03:16AM (#55449089)
    I run a huge channel and about 1 in 5 of my PG-rated content is being flagged. 100% of the appeals were reversed by a human, indicating the bot is wrong. It's basically random at this point. Creators are PISSED and they're moving to Twitch. Youtube needs to send snowflakebot back to its safe space and tell these marketing reps for companies whining about MAAAHH AAADDDSSS to fuck off. You don't need all advertisers, especially progressive liberal nut jobs whining about their ads being on Christian and gun channels.
    • Why is youtube an all-or-nothing advertising platform anyways? Why arent the advertisers allowed to choose exactly where they place there ads?

      In every other case of advertising, advertisers have input. "We want this ad to be played 20 times this month during initial airing of The Walking Dead" .. advertisers arent buying time expecting prime placement and then being shoved into the 3am spot when the 3rd rerun of Sports Center is being shown.

      This is youtubes real problem and its a problem other media sol
    • You don't need all advertisers

      No, but you do need ones with big pockets. When your prominent customers stop working with you then *you* need to change. Telling them to bugger off only works if your business doesn't depend on them for income.

  • by Air-conditioned cowh ( 552882 ) on Saturday October 28, 2017 @03:31AM (#55449095)
    Just because X company says, "We don't want our advert next to any drug-related video (including harm-reduction)" doesn't mean that every advertiser feels the same stupid way. Just give advertisers the option to check-box exactly what type of videos they freak out about without just assuming a one-size-fits-all. Probably most advertisers don't care or would rather not impact on free speech, given the choice.
    • Probably most advertisers don't care or would rather not impact on free speech, given the choice.

      Probably all people who voted for Trump actually are great supporters and fans of Hillary Clinton. There, that's my contribution to opposite-day.

  • by Citizen of Earth ( 569446 ) on Saturday October 28, 2017 @04:34AM (#55449187)
    Running fewer ads just makes YouTube less money. Why don't they have a scheme where the advertisers choose what kinds of videos they want to be associated with. I'm sure there's lots of sleazy or politically-partisan advertisers for everyone.
    • Thats what other media does. Its a solved problem and is the natural endgame. Youtube just doesnt know it yet.
  • Forward all the 'oh dear I feel so triggered' complaints to a queue accessible to the individual advertisers whose ads showed up on the page. With text of the complaint. Give complainers a blank space and force them to type something rather than select from a list. If the advertisers really care they will have someone monitor the queue, can read the complaints and decide. If they flag it will keep that advertiser off of that channel or that video.

    - Advertisers do have a right to decide where their money

  • Ya? So what? An atheist politely discusses sexual abuse in churches and they get demonetized. Someone talks about gay marriage and they get demonetized. Someone calls out Trump's bullshit and they get demonetized.
  • I am a photographer, and admin of groups numbering over 20,000 members. I am also currently in Fb jail because of an image I posted that shows a female and a small amount of pubic hair. No nipple, no bum, no labia.

    *rolls eyes*

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