Link-spamming in comments has always been a problematic area on social. You know the ones I mean - you post something on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and a spammer takes the opportunity to piggyback on your work by commenting with a link to something else. Sometimes those links are within the context of the discussion, so they're not always unwelcome, but a lot of the time they're just self-promotional, using your content to boost their own messaging.
But worst than that, often those links are absolute spam - they link people through to junk content, or worse, phishing sites, which, in some ways, degrades the experience for your audience because your content is being used for this purpose. You can, of course, delete such comments, limiting their effects, but YouTube has come up with a new solution to help.
Over on the YouTube Help forum, the platform has announced that publishers will now be able to have comments with links or hashtags included within them to be held for review.
As per YouTube:
"We've heard from many of you that comments with links on your videos are often low quality, and you'd like a better way to moderate these. Today, we're making it easier for you to block comments that contain links and hashtags with a new setting in Creator Studio. If you enable this setting, comments on your videos that contain links will be sent to your Held for Review queue before being published."
This actually seems like an effective solution - though it does depend on exactly how many comments you're dealing with.
For most users, moderating a couple of questionable comments per day will be a management addition to your daily tasks, but big brands might find it difficult to add into their flow. But still, maybe disallowing comments with links entirely could be effective, and definitely the ability to block specific hashtags will be beneficial, even if you don't have time to approve them.
There's no definitive way to stop spam - for every solution that arises, the spammers find a way around it - but we need the platforms to continue developing solutions that help limit their reach. This is a good initiative from YouTube, and it'll be interesting to see the results.
To activate the new process:
- Go to your Creator Studio.
- Go to your channel's Community settings by selecting Community > Community settings in the left menu.
- Go to Links and check the box to automatically hold new comments with links for review.