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Currently this is the only major problem with Youtube in 2022

Okay, so I was at this meeting a long time ago with Google and YouTube. I don't even know if I'm allowed to talk about this yet but it was so long ago it probably doesn't matter. But Eric Schmidt was there and he said something that I remember super clearly to this day, I'll never forget the quote, which was, "Every problem that we have is a problem at scale." And the more I think about that, the crazier it is, I mean, it makes a lot of sense.


YouTube is a huge site. So YouTube right now, in 2022, has 2.6 billion monthly active users. That means that if there's a problem that's so small it only affects 0.1% of people on YouTube, that problem now affects 2.6 million people. So if you're running a company that big that affects this many people, there's gonna be a lot of decisions that come across their plate that are going to affect large groups of people.

And obviously there's gotta be a threshold that you set where you can't do tons of things every single day, but once it reaches the threshold, then you gotta make a choice. So maybe, oh, you know, something comes up that's affecting a third of YouTube users that makes 4K videos load slowly or something. All right, we'll do something about that. Or, hey, looks like 3% of YouTube users are getting dislike bombed, so we'll do something about it. We'll just get rid of dislikes from the whole site.

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But there are still gonna be small, little issues all the time that are below that threshold that affect a tiny, tiny fraction of the site, 0.1%.

0.01%, and that isn't a big enough issue to spend money on fixing, but it still affects millions of people. But this issue, I really, just from my experience on YouTube, I have to think that it has gotten above that threshold. And that is comment spam.

So really any recently uploaded video you go to on YouTube by relatively active creator, you will undoubtedly come up cross comments with duplicate names and profile pictures like this.

"Thanks for watching, message right away. I have something for you."

"Thanks for the feedback. Expect more videos very soon.

Send direct message. I have something for you."

"Congratulations, you've been selected amongst our shortlisted winners."

And they're usually the first or only reply on a lot of the most recent and most popular comments on any video. Doesn't really matter what the comment is about, they'll figure if you're leaving a comment, you're engaged enough to see it and fall for it. And their goal is to get you off of YouTube onto a Telegram message or a WhatsApp message.


Now, if you're thinking, "Well damn, that's stupid. That's obviously not gonna work. It's clearly fake." Well, that's what I would think, too, but I started getting emails and tweets.

First, it was like one email a day or someone once would tweet at me. And then it was two a day or three a day. And then it was several every day. Now, at this point, every day I wake up to at least a dozen new emails of people sending me screenshots of conversations the think they've had with me, just checking to make sure they sent the money to the right place, or whether or not the PayPal payment went through.

These people are claiming to have a giveaway prize ready to ship and they just need you to pay one or 200 hundred bucks for shipping. And if that's just the people who have thought to email me, imagine how many other people are falling for this and not emailing me that I'm not seeing? Like that is a serious bummer. And the crazy part to me is you would think the comment section would be this precious priority for YouTube, because it's such a unique feature of the site.

This is one of the only places that you can facilitate real conversations between the creators and the audience, between you and I. It's what makes YouTube, YouTube. Like I remember back when I started on YouTube, I had email notifications turned on for everything. So every new comment and every new subscriber, I got an email for it. And I would reply to every single comment on every single video, for years, actually.

But this was my portal into the community. Now these days, obviously, I can't reply to everything, but I do still try to spend a lot of time in the comment section, talking to people. But I end up spending most of my time blocking channels of people trying to scam my audience out of money. And keep in mind, this is just the spam flavor of the moment. Like these spammers, like any other bad actors, are always going to try to adapt and evolve and be as effective as possible all the time.

So like on my channel, if I'm doing a giveaway or even if I'm not, they'll know they can slip in and talk about maybe doing a tech away. But on Jacksepticeye's channel, he just did a video about a month ago, talking about how commenters will try to get you to go to their adult sites with just copying and pasting another highly rated comment and then just getting a bunch of bots to up vote it to the top.

Linus made a video this year on comment spam. His channel gets plenty of crypto stuff, along with PC related giveaways. And you can imagine any Mr. Beast video or any channels in that cinematic universe, there's just gonna be money giveaway spam. There's just so much spam. And with the number of places, the number of channels, that I've seen this comment spam running rampant on, I feel like it has to be associated with some level of negative sentiment of just a bad feeling of spending time in the YouTube comment section.

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So now, there are moderation tools that YouTube has built to help keep comments in check, right? They've gotten better over time. There's an automatic spam filter, that does a pretty decent job and catches a lot of stuff. And just recently, this button to Hide User From Channel will actually work retroactively. So it'll block the channel, but then also remove all of the comments they've ever made on any of my videos.


But I've spent a lot of time doing this, and the more time you spend trying to keep up with the spam, the more you realize that not enough is being done. So now, YouTuber ThioJoe, you might have heard of him, he's made an open source tool that will scan for spam comments and is much better than YouTube at identifying all of them. And just on my last video alone, out of around 6,000 comments scanned, it found that nearly 2,000 of them were identified as spam. 2,000 spam comments. Look, I don't know how bad something has to get to get on YouTube's radar, to cross that threshold, but if 30% of the comment on my new video are spam, that's just not a good look.

So, okay, what should be done?

That's the real question, right?

And I think there are two things. One is a community built solution. And two is a YouTube built solution. But only one of those things actually exists effectively right now. So the community built solutions can actually put a dent in things by users that are active and going through and doing this type of stuff all the time. So that tool by ThioJoe that I mentioned earlier, it's multi-platform, it works on Windows and on Mac. And if you plug in your YouTube info, you can purge YouTube comments according to its much more accurate filters and criteria, which is super helpful for creators that implement it.

I am definitely gonna try it. And then other people can download it and run other videos through it to mass report comments on other videos and other channels. Now that doesn't delete those comments, but hopefully the mass reporting of these types of comments can help train YouTube's automatic filters to more effectively remove them.

Will it actually work?

I don't know, but I promise you, no matter how good these community built solutions get, nothing can touch the effectiveness of YouTube building a fix themselves. And we know that to be true because the community built solutions are amazing and the problem's still here. So YouTube has to do something about it. Now I'm no expert, but I have been on YouTube longer than I haven't been on YouTube. Crazy to say that. So, looking at these YouTube comments, even though these are all pretty obviously spam comments to me, clearly, they're getting through the spam detection filter that YouTube's built. So a comment moderation tool to nuke them all would be the ideal, right? Now like I mentioned earlier, they steal the uploader's profile picture to try to be convincing, but then they also make literally dozens of accounts, really quickly. So blocking one of them and hiding all of their past activity from the channel, which works, it only works for one set of spam comments that one spam account left. Tons tons of spam, there's almost 40 different accounts leaving comments and each one of them has left anywhere from one to 111 spam comments. 


So as of right out, you can already block certain words from appearing in the body of a YouTube comment. So if somebody leaves a comment with a certain word in it, it will just not show up. And that makes a lot of sense. It works for, like, if someone tries to put an address or your phone number or an offensive word or any number of things that may be part of the spam flavor of the moment that you can just nix right in the bud.

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That's super useful. But like I said, these bots are smart, or at least the people making them are. They're already adapting to that by cramming as much information as they can into the username now. So not just the body of the spam comment itself. So the best solution I can think of right now would be for YouTube to let us ban words from usernames. So that, right off the bat,

I can just ban anyone who tries to use my name in their own username. It's the easiest way to stop impersonation type spam from occurring. And I know it might sound messy or brute force and you might be concerned about innocent users getting caught in the crossfire.

"Hey, what if someone has the same name as me?" But listen, this is the same company that saw a fraction of users getting dislike brigaded and decided to turn off dislikes for the entire site.

So to me, this tool seems to be not that bad. And who knows, maybe someday in the future, YouTube's AI will get advanced enough that if you make a brand new account with the same profile picture and name as the person whose videos you're commenting on and then leave 100 comments in an hour that it'll trip something and it'll recognize it as spam and delete it.

But in the meantime, a PSA. Myself and other creators will never ask you for money or for a shipping address or to DM us on Telegram. And if we do have a giveaway going up, we have verified accounts and we'll never message you from any other account.

So if you click on an account and it doesn't go to our channel,  that's a pretty good sign. Okay. That's it for now. YouTube, get on it. That's it. Thanks for reading and if you have anything to say, put it in the comment section below and yes, don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family as well.

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