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YouTube finally cracks down on notoriously heinous comment sections

YouTube comments are notorious dens of filth, racism, and misogyny, but now the video site is finally doing something about it.


Gaby Dunn

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 25, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 5:43 am CDT

YouTube comment sections are notorious dens of filth, racism, and misogyny, but now, after a prolonged and powerful outcry, the video site is finally doing something about it.

On the official YouTube blog yesterday, it was announced that comments will now be powered by Google+ allowing you to see not just the most recent comment but also the most relevant ones. No more randos clogging the top spot: You can, starting this week, see comments from friends and notable people first on channel discussion pages, and then later this year, the change will transfer to all YouTube comment sections.

This will filter out the spam and random trolls and allow for moderation of comments from “unwelcome voices.” The post also says viewers will see comments from the video’s creator, popular personalities, people engaging in discussions about the video, and people in their own Google+ circles. They will not have to see triggering, random, or foul comments.

Replies will also be threaded so you can comment publicly or just to the creator and people in your Google+ circles.

As for the content creators, they will be able to review comments before they’re posted, block specific words, and auto-approve comments from certain friends or fans.

The announcement comes on the heels of a Dot story published Monday about the ways YouTube fails its female content creators by not protecting them from escalating and terrifying harassment. One of the women featured spoke of having to move because the harassment had gotten so bad. Others were scared to even start vlogging for fear of threatening comments and actions.

Popular YouTuber Franchesca Ramsey said that she felt YouTube needed just such changes but also hoped for the ability to block certain IP addresses that keep making accounts to harass women and YouTubers of color.

In response to YouTube’s announcement today, Ramsey told the Dot in an interview that she hoped her voice and other YouTubers like her had been part of the decision to change.

“I think it’s a start! I’m excited though. This is really cool,” she said. “I’m glad they’re finally listening to us.”

Photo via Andrew Perry/Flickr

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*First Published: Sep 25, 2013, 8:31 am CDT