YouTube’s commenting system was a mess prior to Google+. When Google stepped in to involve their social platform, it took a drastic step toward ending the misogyny and blind hate. Google+, by nature, gives moderators better tools for weeding out those who want to be rude. It didn’t sit well with some YouTubers, drawing petitions for Google to revert back, even causing the founder of YouTube to lash out.
Bradley Horowitz, Google’s VP of Product Management for Google+, was at LeWeb conference in Paris this week when he spoke candidly about the new direction. Admitting the rollout was bumpy, Horowitz said “Out of the gate, we weren’t doing so well and a lot of that had to do with ranking and how we were in a bit of an arms race around spam and abuse”. He went on to note that thy understood it would probably take a few swipes before getting the slate clean, as no first-run really ever goes so smoothly.
When launched, it was clear Google was trying to clean things up on YouTube. Through high profile tirades and support, Google stayed the course, offering to bolster the system with blanket moderation tools in the future. Though the initial release was shocking and rough, Horowitz said it took Google “a matter of days” to fix issues, and said “I think most people are now having that experience you are, which are things are dramatically better…” in a chat with LeWeb founder Loic Le Meur.
Both sides have salient points in this debate, but Google is clearly not going to budge off its position with YouTube comments. Their continued efforts to create a friendlier environment are pushing forward, and Horowitz’s comments only signal that Google was keenly aware of what YouTube was. It also speaks volumes about what Google thinks it should be, or rather what they will make it.