YouTube Heroes: A new-ish program by YouTube
By Madré Roothman, Digital Strategist
Over the past few months YouTube’s automated moderating tools have been in the spotlight for several reasons – and now it’s YouTube Heroes, the new-not-so-new program by YouTube.
If you are a YouTube Creator, you might have been affected by the Ad Inappropriate Content rollout on August 31, 2016 (which resulted in creators’ videos being demonitised), Content ID (where creators could claim video content made by them) or any other Inappropriate Content claims (which includes anything from intolerance to the selling of tigers and sharks on video content that’s live). Now, to help creators and users of YouTube, enjoy a platform which allows for more “user friendly” content, YouTube created the YouTube Heroes program.
What is this YouTube Heroes Program?
The YouTube Heroes program is pretty neat – depending on which side you’re on. The video moderators (YouTube Heroes), or the creators.
For video moderators
For video Moderators (Heroes) it means that you can score points by flagging inappropriate video content, adding captions and subtitles to videos and sharing your knowledge with other users. When a “quality contribution” is confirmed by YouTube (after 24 hours max), it rewards the Hero with points towards unlocking “perks” with YouTube. Heroes can only expect rewards after being accepted into the programme (apply here) and sticking to the rules (available here), and can only unlock perks after completing Hero Levels. Perks include things like taking part in hero hangouts, having sneak previews of new product releases by YouTube and applying for a Heroes Summit. More about this here.
For video creators
If you’re a creator, on the other hand, it means that you have to start thinking twice before saying things like the “f” word on video content that’s live. Like Philip DeFranco or PewDiePie who uses – what YouTube calls – “explicit language” on their uploaded videos. You also will have to start thinking more granularly about things like context to your videos, community flags (or YouTube’s trusted flagger program), following YouTube best practices and YouTube’s policy guidelines. Basically, censoring anything and everything you do on your content that might offend or be harmful to others. You can read all about it here. Oh yes, one other thing. If you’re a creator and hated by some (just because), you might also be “moderated” by a “Hero”. Just because.
What are people saying?
The new YouTube Heroes program might be an attempt by YouTube on getting users to help them censor video content due to the little success they’ve had on it in the past. But according to a YouTube spokesperson, “The YouTube Heroes program is designed to help recognize the work of these contributors and give them new way to interact with each other.” Unfortunately YouTube have disabled commentary on their “Getting Started with YouTube Heroes” video, but creators and publications have expressed their opinions. On The Verge, author said:
YouTube is probably hoping that, by getting the community involved, it’ll receive more reports about bad comments, letting its actual moderation team get to them faster.
The main issue with YouTube Heroes is this flagging system no one seems to understand. Hackers have been making and selling flagging bots for years and regular users have been mass flagging out of spite since at least 2011.
Anyway, let’s end it off by having a look at what one of my “real” YouTube Heroes, PewDiePie, had to say on this topic. Please note – he is fowled mouthed. *censor censor censor*.