YouTube CEO announces massive changes to the trending page

2 May 2019, 13:16 | Updated: 2 May 2019, 13:20

youtube ceo trending page changes shane dawson
Picture: Twitter: Shane Dawson / YouTube.com
Benedict Townsend

By Benedict Townsend

After meeting with Shane Dawson and other creators, big changes are now coming to the trending page and other aspects of the site

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has announced a slate of new changes to the platform following a series of meetings with prominent creators, including Shane Dawson and James Charles.

Wojcicki, in her second quarterly update blog of 2019, outlined a number of changes that would be made, following creators' suggestions. These include changes to the YouTube 'trending' page, which has long been controversial among creators because of its opaque mechanics and alleged tendency to feature big companies and celebrities over homegrown YouTubers.

Here's a breakdown of the three biggest announcements from the quarterly update:

The trending page will be overhauled.

Susan Wojcicki says the trending page will be changed so that at least 50% of the content on it will always be from YouTubers. She also offered a little peek behind the curtain in terms of how the page works. YouTubers have often been confounded by the fact that videos that get millions of views can't seem to break the page. She says:

“One thing to keep in mind is that trending is meant to show content that a wide range of viewers would find interesting... eligible videos are... ranked based on a calculation of their ‘temperature’ — how quickly that video is generating views. But we want to better showcase our creators.”

Wojcicki also confirmed what creators and viewers have long suspected - that YouTube pre-vets the videos that appear on the page, and that it isn't left entirely up to algorithms. Susan says that this means certain videos - for example, videos with swearing or adult content in them - will not be allowed on to the page.

YouTube's copyright system will be also be looked at.

YouTube's strict and often weirdly draconian copyright system will be reviewed, Wojcicki says. She says she's aware that creators feel the system is stacked against them and that they feel they are often being hit with copyright strikes unfairly.

She admits that:

“our manual claiming system was increasingly being used to claim very short (in some cases one second) content or incidental content like when a creator walks past a store playing a few seconds of music.”

She goes on to say that:

"Hearing this directly from creators was vital.” And adds that YouTube is “exploring improvements in striking the right balance between copyright owners and creators.”

YouTube's controversial comments policy is staying the same...for now.

The CEO stood by YouTube's highly controversial decision to disable comments on some videos if they feel the comments will be dangerous for children, despite it being widely disliked by creators. She said:

“I hear from creators every day how meaningful comments are for engaging with fans, getting feedback, and helping guide future videos,” she says. “I also know this change impacted so many creators who we know are innocent — from professional creators to young people or their parents who are posting videos. But in the end, that was a trade-off we made because we feel protecting children on our platform should be the most important guiding principle.”

So, a lot of changes, but what do you make of them? Tweet us @wetheunicorns, or let us know how you feel in the Facebook comments of this article.