YouTube has announced details for its new YouTube Heroes platform that wants to gamify volunteer moderation of the service, but some of the platform’s biggest stars see it as a serious misstep.
The YouTube Heroes platform is Google’s latest effort to recruit the wider YouTube audience of more than 1bn people to moderate content that appears every day.
Rather than relying on willpower alone, YouTube has taken the step of gamifying the process, allowing a ‘YouTube hero’ to gain points for moderating videos.
By gaining more points, the moderator can then gradually rise up five ranks, each of which have their own benefits. Level five, for example, allows users to test new YouTube features before they are released.
Some of the jobs they would be tasked with include adding subtitles to videos as well as offering technical help to people on Google’s support forums.
Claims of possible censorship
The main issue causing concern with YouTube creators relates to how YouTube Heroes moderators can report videos they deem to be in violation of the site’s community guidelines.
More specifically, they have an issue with the fact that these moderators have the ability to flag videos that they regard as offensive en masse.
Some argue that this will stifle content. By throwing moderation out to the masses, personal grudges and censorship could become prevalent.
Ireland’s biggest YouTube star, Jacksepticeye, took to Twitter to criticise the move, noting YouTube’s decision to remove the ability to comment on the announcement video.
Youtube uploads video about boosting the community with "Youtube Heroes" but turns off the comments? Sending a great message
— jacksepticeye (@Jack_Septic_Eye) September 21, 2016
At the time of writing, the promotional video released by YouTube has reached nearly 500,000 views. However, it has amassed nearly 140,000 dislikes, compared with just over 2,000 likes.
The "Youtube Heroes" program seems a bit like throwing everyone who wants one, a gun and badge, because you didn't build up a police force. pic.twitter.com/Ga4pS5nW7T
— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) September 21, 2016
As someone who has been targeted and mass-flagged by people who dislike me, this shot from the YouTube Heroes vid makes me feel v uneasy. https://t.co/nXKpz3xnsC
— Ellen Rose (@icklenellierose) September 21, 2016
There's no way this will go horribly wrong due to the vindictive spitefulness of internet mobs! EVERYTHING IS FINE https://t.co/X9FLsP1aR0
— Gav (@miracleofsound) September 22, 2016
Why is YouTube trying to wreck YouTube again? https://t.co/NRAQRvrJNn
— Lvl. 5 YouTube Hero (@theneedledrop) September 22, 2016
The latest reactions from the wider YouTube community mark the second time in a month that the video-sharing platform has received serious criticism from its biggest creators.
The previous issue related to a number of YouTube content creators finding their videos suddenly de-monetised because they did not fit in with YouTube’s community guidelines.
While it is to be expected that Google and YouTube would not want to monetise hateful videos, creators have criticised Google for making its guidelines too vague.
YouTube on phone image: NIRUT RUPKHAM/Shutterstock