YouTube CEO Sheds Light on Trending Algorithm and Blacklisted Keywords

YouTube’s way of doing things has long been a mystery, even to the people that actually depend on the video streaming platform for the careers that they have chosen to pursue. A lot of this has to do with the trending page that can often make or break the success of a particular video and ostensibly uses an algorithm in order to determine what is actually trending and what isn’t, even though a lot of YouTubers seem to think that human involvement is a lot more likely than you might initially end up thinking all in all.

Another source of confusion surrounding YouTube has to do with the demonetization of various videos. A lot of YouTubers have found their videos to be stripped of YouTube monetization, something that means that they won’t be making any ad revenue off of YouTube which is often a big source of income for these creators all in all. This has created a lot of controversy because certain creators are claiming that their videos have been demonetized in spite of the fact that they really haven’t done anything wrong nor has their content crossed any boundaries.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki provided some information (in a recent interview with Juanpa Zurita) talked about both of these topics in an attempt to assuage the rumors that were going around. She started off by addressing the trending page. According to Wojcicki, an algorithm is what is responsible for figuring out which videos end up on the trending page, however she admitted that human beings are involved to some extent. However, she didn’t say that humans were responsible for picking trending videos, on the contrary she said that humans merely made sure that all of the videos in the trending section “made sense”, although some would say that this level of censorship would go against the very spirit of the trending page.

As far as the keyword blacklist is concerned, a bunch of YouTubers did an experiment that revealed that the presence of certain keywords in their titles or descriptions pretty much guaranteed that their video would end up getting stripped of monetization. However, when Wojcicki was confronted with this question she denied the presence of a blacklist of words that gauged whether or not a video would end up getting demonetized. Wojcicki said that the guidelines that decide if a particular video would be able to run ads are a lot more subjective than that, and that the context in which words are used matter more than the words themselves. This goes against the findings of the YouTubers that conducted this experiment however, and it would not be surprising to anyone that most YouTubers wouldn’t really trust this kind of statement from the CEO of their platform.

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