Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Youtube Media Software The Internet News

YouTube Is Littered With Mass-Produced Videos Made By Automated Bots ( 99

A report via Hacker Noon sheds some light on the practice of using bots to mass-produce videos for YouTube. The YouTube channel Breaking News Today, for example, constantly generates new videos from recent news sources, and posts as often as every few minutes. You can tell the videos are bot-produced because they always start off with a cringe-worthy 80's style intro, followed by a robotic voiceover and floating low quality images. From the report: Someone has effectively created a fully automated process running 24/7 that is taking and stripping recent articles, converting them into video format, and posting it on Youtube as their own. And while doing so, they take credit for it and reap all the rewardsâS -- such as revenue and influenceâS -- âSthat come with it. Some videos, especially the ones that gain momentum and get popular, even feature a large juicy ad on the bottom, in which Google displays and shares profits with. Sure, one video with a few thousand views isn't really that significant, but when you have hundreds of videos being pumped out week after week, you can see how quickly things can add up. And while many new videos are still awaiting their first dozen views, others are in the tens of thousands. One even amassed almost 50k views in just two days. In total, the channel's videos have been viewed more than 225,000 times just in the past month, with an average of around 8,000 views per day. Did I mention that there are more than just this one channel? There's also this one, and this one, both following the same concept. There's actually many, MANY more. There are few solutions to deal with this new type of fully automated plagiarism. While you can certainly down vote the videos and report them to YouTube if the uploader is infringing on your copyright, they will likely stay online for days racking up views and revenue before any action is taken. There's also no reason why the videos couldn't be uploaded to separate channels to fly under YouTube's radar.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

YouTube Is Littered With Mass-Produced Videos Made By Automated Bots

Comments Filter:
  • Surely, YouTube/google doesn't just pay people instantly, do they? It would be easy enough for them to either not pay the money or switch it to the actual content creator, long before any check was sent out.

    Yes, this does mean that you have to be watching to see if your content is being plagerized, but this is part of the whole DMCA legislative compromise - just from the content creator's point of view.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Yet the bastards at YouTube continue to fail to enable blocking of uploaders, why the fuck not. Youtube would be so much better if they just implemented the ability for end users to block specific uploaders so they never see their content, never have to deal with that empty crap. Would produce great statistics to be analysed for bad players who should be kicked off. Simply allow blocking and a lot of problems go away.

      • by Zumbs ( 1241138 )
        I have blocked a few uploaders from appearing in my stream some 5-6 years ago. It wasn't easy to find the functionality, though. According to the internet, you go to the channel/user, select the About tab, click the flag and select Block user.
    • Google prioritizes censoring channels that engage in legally protected speech but allows video spam en masse.

      Google is fucked up. Really fucked up. Maybe fucked up in a different sort of way than Facebook, but just as grubby and noxious.

  • YouTube Is Littered With Mass-Produced Videos Made By Automated Bots

    So is Hollywood. Zing!

  • Isn't procedurally generated content with no input from a person outside of copyright protection? So someone can repost the videos on their own account?

    I'm not a lawyer, so a real lawyer's answer would be appreciated.

  • by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @12:11AM (#56435237)

    Until it's full of (free) 4K AI produced 2 hour porn vids, completely indistinguishable from "real" actors.

  • by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @12:14AM (#56435241) Homepage

    they take credit for it and reap all the rewardsâS -- such as revenue and influenceâS -- âSthat come with it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "report them to YouTube if the uploader is infringing on your copyright, they will likely stay online for days racking up views and revenue before any action is taken."

    Youtube, as you may not have noticed, is a lot more on point with this than ever before.

    Now, you might be thinking "Well even if they get 3 strikes and lose the channel, they can just start a new channel", but you'd be both right and wrong. Yes, they could start a new channel... and not be eligible for revenue until it has amassed 4,000 hour

    • Thank goodness there haven't been any security breaches of sufficient personal information that could be used to make fake youtube accounts for the foreseeable future. That sort of thing could very readily be automated to get around the penalties of starting a new channel.
    • by Leuf ( 918654 )

      If they have 0 subscribers then they are already demonetized. Every channel with less than 4000 hours and 1000 subscribers was retroactively demonetized. My second channel being one of them. I reached the new thresholds a couple weeks ago but am still in review.

      So if the idea of screwing over all the smaller channels was to get these guys to stop doing this, well guess what, they are still doing it.

  • This is likely the main reason YouTube changed their monetization policy, contrary to the whole "YouTube is against me!" or the "YouTube is censoring me!" narrative. People were using bots and stolen/fake content etc.. to exploit their advertising platform. Unfortunately their solution couldn't distinguish between scammers and small YouTubers trying to grow their channel. But YouTube would rather play the bad guy than to admit advertising dollars were being wasted on con artists.
    • by nnull ( 1148259 )
      With youtubes recent act of removing content, the video reposts are getting more prevalent in my searches. It's making youtube completely useless.
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Why would Google care, provided people watch the videos and Google doesn't get copyright notices?

      My kid watches what I would swear are videos produced by high levels of automation. I tell him the voiceover sounds like speech synthesis reading a newspaper article, but to him it's about some sports topic he doesn't know anything about and he finds it informative.

      I'd kind of guess that the future will be filled with AI-generated videos, especially non-fiction content where you can easily use a source text art

      • Yup. It sounds to me like someone has reinvented Reader's Digest for this century--fully automated but otherwise similar, showing ez2consume infobites about popular topics to the general viewer. "Oh the humanity."
  • Everyone else should too .Report them if possible as well.

    Perhaps we could make a robo-DMCA reporter tool to overload them with takedown requests.

  • And while doing so, they take credit for it and reap all the rewardsâS -- such as revenue and influenceâS -- âSthat come with it.

    We can do all these amazing things with modern technology, and yet Slashdot STILL CAN'T SUPPORT UNICODE.

    At the very fucking least, you could implement something to identify Unicode in a submission and strip it out.

  • Botnets (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Author is not getting the whole picture. Views on many of these channels are automated as well. In fact, it's an issue on YT in general.

    It is one reason why monetization is all fucked up on there right now. They're getting rolled by highly sophisticated botnets more or less.

  • by No Longer an AC ( 4611353 ) on Saturday April 14, 2018 @09:19AM (#56436271) Journal

    I felt giving them a click myself.

    Why feed the people who produce this crap?

    I went to their channel, selected a news story I was interested in and what was really " cringe-worthy 80's style" was the digitized audio reading the script no doubt lifted directly from other sources. Then there's the video. It appears they just lifted images from other sources and display them drifting across the screen. Apparently the one I clicked on only had one image.

    That video has 1359 views. I didn't even watch the whole thing and at least my ad-blocker still works on YT (do they still get ad revenue if I don't see the ads?). It wasn't telling me anything I didn't already know and that audio was truly cringeworthy.

    I used to think Newsy and other sources like them were bad. If you've never seen any of their videos it's basically the same rehashing of stories from other sources but at least they have actual humans compiling them and repeating what you could have gotten from dozens of other video sources.

    It sort of makes me a little envious. Why didn't I think of doing this?

    Someone on Reddit wrote a little bot that does an okay job at summarizing articles. If they can do that, it's just one more step to grabbing images and putting the words on the screen and having a cheesy digitized voice read them too you.

    If you're really lazy you could just randomly grab text off any other news site, string them together, put them in a video and collect revenue. Why am I wasting time posting on /. when I could be doing that right now?

  • Youtube took a huge nose dive, contentwise when it monitized. It had almost zero oversight so on content, making it place of free expession for the sake of sharing fun and learning. Now it's just a another anerican whore, trying to catch a trick to gimd a buck. Sadness indeed for our poor internet. RIP. The internet was sillently murdered and replaced by eccomerce
  • You so deserve this cr*p.

    It's bad enough the so-called mainstream outlets spew forth so much redundant cr*p, but to go to a third-party distributor?


  • What's the problem? Sure it's bad content, but I don't submit Slashdot articles when Jake Paul uploads. The truth is that some people like it and would rather be read the news rather than read it themselves. Maybe other AI researchers are seeing what these bots can do. The worst case scenario is that all of the bots' views are from other bots in which case the view bots are the still the real problem here, not the fact that the videos are being made.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A giant panda bear is really a member of the racoon family.