Users will still be able to tag videos, but tags will only be used by YouTube’s search and recommendation algorithms, not visible to viewers.

YouTube made a change to its video player page last week, removing meta data tags from the page’s information section.

“This isn’t a bug,” Google strategist Keane Ng wrote in a YouTube forum on Friday, “but a change that went out this week.”

Ng stressed that the video sharing site hasn’t removed tagging from YouTube operations completely; Google has simply concealed each video’s tags from users and viewers. Those who upload content will still have the option to include tags in each video’s metadata.

Ng wrote that “[h]aving [tags] on the watch page gave users an opportunity to abuse tags by copying them onto videos.”

For years, manipulating users have copied the tags used in some of YouTube’s most popular videos and repurposed them onto their own videos to boost YouTube search results.

The phenomenon became mainstream news when YouTube decided to alter its related videos algorithm during March’s Reply Girls controversy, when a team of women dominated YouTube’s related videos section and made a boatload of cash through a combination of tag manipulation, search engine optimization, and carefully selected outfits.

Google did not respond to a Daily Dot request for comment concerning whether the decision to hide tags derived from any particular incident.

“Another reason last week’s decision was the fact that Google did not see much usage of tags by the average viewer,” Ng wrote.

How should the change affect creators? If you were tagging your videos properly in the first place, it shouldn’t.

Ng wrote that anyone who uploads videos to the site should continue adding tags to their video despite the fact that they don’t show up on the player page, as “tags are still used to aid the discoverability of your videos like they have before.”

“The only difference now is that they don’t appear on the video page,” he wrote.

That, and they’re no longer ripe for manipulation.

Photo via Ronnie Bincer/Google+

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