It’s possible that your YouTube recommendation is now full of children-oriented content. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a simple hiccup in the system.
According to Bloomberg, the world’s biggest video stream platform secretly modified its algorithm to prioritize family-friendly content over many other channels.
Many YouTubers who have financially suffered from the platform’s controversial copyright protection system felt the heat quickly.
To make a living out of YouTube, content creators need to let the system prioritize their videos in search results and viewing recommendations to attract random views and long-term subscribers.
With the latest algorithm changes, some channels lost substantial viewing traffic that could lead to devastating financial troubles. Bloomberg mentioned that a YouTuber showed a catastrophic 98 percent drop in just three days.
Furthermore, it seems that the changes even punished certain children-friendly channels without reason. Nathan Laud, a British animator behind cartoon song channel Tiny Tunes, revealed to the publisher that his daily traffic plummeted 80 percent.
While YouTube told Bloomberg that it wanted to improve the “ability for users to find quality family content” through the update, some see it as a way to conciliate the Federal Trade Commission that the company had recently settled a case with.
For the past few years, YouTube has encountered fierce criticism for failing to stop uploaders from publishing and maintaining deceptive children content mixed with disturbing scenes.
Back then, kids and their parents had the option to use the content-starved YouTube Kids app or resort to the main app with a far better video portfolio but at a risk of seeing scenes inappropriate for children.
In 2017, YouTube responded to the outcry by eradicating dozens of egregious offenders. The platform even turned off the comment section for videos with children to discourage online criminals from identifying young girls for threats of online or even real-life stalking.
So far, YouTube hasn’t provided more information on how it might remedy the situation that hurts some of its creators the most.