YouTube Uses Google+ As Its Moderation Engine

Lisa Barnett Social Media Services Director, Emoderation

Posted on September 25th 2013

YouTube Uses Google+ As Its Moderation Engine

Recently I was invited to an exclusive panel held by YouTube to hear the latest improvements on its user comments, unveiled on 24 September 2013. YouTube appears to have listened to public and industry pressure on how to deal with abuse and spam on its platform. And the saviour in this fight is going to be Google+, as its closer integration with YouTube will change the way that Community Managers can moderate comments.

The central development promotes full integration between YouTube and Google+, so there is one consistent identity.  It was clear from the session that Google+ is being pushed as a must-have and will be the ‘only’ way to get full functionality on YouTube.

Brands will be required to link their YouTube accounts with Google+ accounts in order to benefit from any functionality over and above what is now on offer.

Brands will be required to link their YouTube accounts with Google+ accounts to access any functionality over and above what is now on offer.

The developments Google revealed were still in their early stages, but I personally don't think this is a one-off project from YouTube – watch this space for further developments in 2014!

What is changing

  • YouTube users will be identifiable by their real name - the platform will take your name from Google+
  • A new commenting system will allow users to sort comments into top comments or chronological (as it does now) - top comments will be ranked by popularity
  • Comments made by the creator of the video, for example, brands or artists, will be shown higher on the page
  • There will be threaded replies to encourage community interaction
  • The new commenting system is powered by Google+ –  if you make a comment on YouTube, you now have the option to share it on Google+
  • As part of Google+, users can make comments private, such as within their circle of friends. The video creator will be able to see all public comments but not any private dialogue
  • Users can also include links on their comment – moderators will need to police these!

Comment Settings that admins see in the back-end

  • Google has added new filters, encouraging brands to use the functionality of Google+, such as circles. These are:
    • Approved users – in the example we saw, there were circles called Top fans, Big frame network (so brands would be able to target groups of users, as well as running incentive programmes )
    • Block individual users
    • Block words – there is currently a text box to manually add words or phrases per channel
  • There was also the ability to allow comments On/Off and to hold all comments to review On/Off
  • The moderation panel will be called the Watch Page. We didn’t see this page but we did ask for a preview regarding queues etc.  Apparently there will be the option to bulk moderate across content, queues and channels. We'll keep you posted on this one, as more details emerge.


YouTube new user comments feature powered by Google+


How comment moderation will work:

  • Moderators will be able to approve comments through queues
  • You can either perform the moderation through inline moderation, via the page, or through your inbox. These two are not currently connected, but they will be as part of the changes. In addition, when actioning something in a queue or inbox, the action will also follow through to the front end item.
  • As with Google+, user replies are limited to 500. To get round this, YouTube suggested brands could delete irrelevant comments,  or post a second comment, allowing another 500 comments on a different thread.


Getting rid of the spammers

As part of the changes, YouTube has created two spamming levels:

  1. Black Spammers – these are always 'bad'
  2. Grey Spammers – these go into a ‘bucket’ for the moderator or brand to review, or move into the Black Spammers category. The new system will ‘learn’ from your decisions and categorise subsequent posts accordingly.

Spammers or abusive accounts will no longer see an error message when they post. The system will show that they have posted but it won’t actually appear on the page, so they will be shouting in an empty space!

What's next...

Following the announcement, brands and channel owners will have three to six weeks to merge their channels, so if you have a Google+ page it will need to have the same name.

If you don’t have a Google+ page, you will need to create one to take advantage of this new functionality.

If your brands chooses to remain as it is, you will only have the ability to remove comments as you do currently - you won't be able to take advantage of the new moderation features.

If you're unsure about the role of Google+ and how it will affect your social media presence, here is one of my previous blogs on how Google+ works.


This is smart move by YouTube and its owner Google+, allowing deep integration with most other Google products, such as Search, Gmail, Calendar, Drive and Picasa.

Instead of using a social network which requires complex integration with other core web tools, or the use of multiple applications to create a single dashboard, Google has built a social platform which is woven tightly with our day-to-day experience of the internet. This will generate more traffic on its own social network platform, something which Google+ wants to achieve as it races to overtake Facebook.

YouTube should also be commended for the stance it is now taking on abuse and spam. Unfortunately, YouTube is often known for outlandish posts, but by allowing brands to effectively moderate users' comments, it is standing up to the trolls and spammers.

I'm sure this won't be the first reiteration of YouTube's user commenting system and we look forward to hearing more from YouTube. What do you think about the move by YouTube? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Lisa Barnett

Social Media Services Director, Emoderation

Lisa is a Social Media Services Director at social media management agency Emoderation, and has worked in B2C and B2B online communities for over 10 years, dealing with all aspects of multilingual community management, both operational and strategic. You can find her on .

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