YouTube faces problems that are plaguing the platform

YouTube faces problems that are plaguing the platform

If you’re anything like me, then you spend countless hours each day on YouTube. Since the site’s inception back in 2005, the company has had a lot of success, culminating in the recent startup of YouTube TV, a digital alternative to cable television. But meanwhile, issues that have manifested themselves into the platform’s core workings are becoming an issue for content creators.

 In order to foster an environment conducive for advertisers on YouTube, channels need to draw viewers to click on their videos. While a handful of creators still accomplish this in an ethical and fair way, most channels include outrageous and far-fetched images on their video thumbnails; a practice known colloquially on YouTube as clickbait.

 Clickbait is “content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.” Competing in the vastly-oversaturated market that YouTube has become is not an easy task, and it’s why most of the platform has resorted to deceiving its viewers. YouTube channels generally aim clickbait thumbnails towards younger audiences, who are not aware of their falsity.

 Many of the YouTube channels who exclusively utilize clickbait for every video are of the “Top 10” and “lifehack” genre. These video formats require little or no effort to produce, and are typically released multiple times per day by their creators. By following this strategy, YouTubers can earn massive amounts of cash. According to Socialblade (Social media analytics site), 5-Minute Crafts, the dominating channel in this category, brings in a yearly average of $13,000,000.

 Eastern freshman Julian Novin operates the SJ Gaming Boys – STEM Robotics channel along with his brother Sebastian. With upwards of 22,000 subscribers, the duo upload a variety of technology-based videos. In a recent interview, Novin offered his opinion of clickbait tactics.

 “We are not fans of clickbait when it creates a sense of false advertising. You should use images and wording that are true towards the video.”

 YouTube’s demonetization and copyright strike guidelines have also proved troublesome for smaller creators looking to make a living off of their videos. For those who base their channels around copyrighted materials, (video games and music) these rules are a massive blockade for channels to overcome. Once a smaller channel is taken down by YouTube, it can be a long and tedious process to recover their videos/account.

 Another topic of controversy on YouTube has been its trending page. As YouTube puts it, “Trending helps viewers see what’s happening on YouTube and in the world.” Yet day after day, the list is filled with countless videos from large entities who have no need to be advertised by YouTube. Eastern freshman Joseph Loverdi gave his view of the trending page issue.

 “They (YouTube) don’t really show a lot of videos from actual YouTubers on the trending page. Most of the videos are either music videos or videos from late-night hosts like Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel. YouTube needs to do a better job of making sure that the trending page is always showing more actual YouTubers rather than companies or TV shows.”

 As 2019 progresses, YouTube as a company needs to find ways to improve these issues. While clickbait is not a new problem and has existed in various forms since the ‘90s, it hasn’t been much worse than it is now. The hundreds of millions of people who use YouTube every day not only deserve better content, but the younger generation who readily digests clickbaity videos will grow up thinking that it’s the right thing to do, when it obviously is not. As said by Novin, “Clickbait might get you views, but it doesn’t get you loyalty amongst fans.”