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Improving YouTube comments: respectfulness reminders, improved automated removal, moderation updates

YouTube is making changes that will (hopefully) reduce the number of hateful comments. Or at least make them less visible. The goal is to make YouTube a more welcoming space for both creators and viewers.

The old joke is that if you find a great video on YouTube "don't read the comments!" 

It's true that there are a subset of of YouTube viewers who seem to be dedicated to posting hateful comments. And this has been made worse by creators who don't moderate the comments on their channel, or worse, actually encourage bad behavior. 

This has lead to many creators turning off the comments so that they don't have to deal with hateful content, harassment and abuse. 

But YouTube has been working to improve this. Since the beginning of 2019 YouTube has "increased the number of daily hate speech comment removals by 46x."  That's a relative increase, of course, so it might be that the starting point was very few removals. But it's clear that YouTube is actively working to improve. 

Here's what's YouTube is doing to improve comments for creators: 

  • A commenter may see a popup reminder to "keep comments respectful" if YouTube detects what they wrote may be offensive. 
  • YouTube is improving their automated systems that detect hateful comments. In particular they are working on better understanding the context of the comment and topic of the video. 
  • The "Likely spam" tab and "Held for review" tabs on the Comment page in YouTube studio are being combined into a single "Held for review" tab. 
  • Held comments are automatically removed after 60 days.
  • YouTube will be testing a filter on the Comments page in YouTube Studio that hides "potentially inappropriate and hurtful comments" that have been held for review.

Changes you need to make as a creator:

You don't actually need to change anything. However, if you routinely review comments, keep in mind the following:

  • YouTube no longer shows how many unpublished comments there are, so you will need to check if there are new comments that require review.
  • If you are holding all comments for review you may want to make an effort to review them within 60 days so the good comments are not automatically deleted. 

Read on for more details: 

Reminder to keep comments respectful

If someone writes up a comment that might be offensive, they may see a popup reminding them to "keep comments respectful"

YouTube uses automated systems to screen the comment content. It learns from the content that is "repeatedly reported by users", and is a work in progress.

The poster can then either edit the comment, or post it as-is. 

A few more details: 

  • This is currently only in the Android YouTube app.
  • If you believe YouTube got it wrong, click "Let us know" on the popup to submit feedback.
  • Comments that trigger the popup will not necessarily be removed. 
  • Comments that do not trigger the popup may still be removed.

Changes to the Comments Held for review tab in YouTube Studio

On the YouTube Studio Comments page, "Likely Spam" is now included on the "Held for review" tab. 

  • Held comments are only available in YouTube Studio, not the video watch page.
  • "Likely spam" comments are at the bottom of the comments on the new tab.
  • After 60 days, unpublished comments are automatically removed. 
  • The unpublished comment counter has been removed "to take away stress". 

Learn more