YouTubers call out platform for changing its video algorithms

January 25, 2017 — by Francesca Chu and Sanjana Melkote

Youtube change of policy upsets many Youtubers. 

“YouTube is changing! YouTube is dying!” YouTubers Markiplier and Jacksepticeye exclaimed in their recent videos, voicing the common frustration of YouTube’s recent algorithmic changes to their combined audience of 30 million subscribers.

Since November, YouTube creators and users have noticed irritating glitches that have dissuaded some from using the website. The most common complaint is the changes in the algorithm that have caused a dramatic decrease in the displayed number of views.

In December, Felix Kjellberg, more commonly known as Pewdiepie on YouTube, posted a video accusing YouTube of changing its algorithm, specifically regarding the suggested video list. With over 52 million subscribers, he is the most subscribed to person on YouTube, posting a slew of gaming and comedy skit videos to the site each week.

Recently, he has noticed a decline in views. The culprit, he contends, is YouTube’s bias toward clickbait videos — videos that use flashy thumbnails and jarring headlines to encourage people to click on them.

These videos are often paid for by advertisers and are aimed for profit, often at the cost of quality or accuracy. He claims that these videos are being suggested more often than those without, causing viewers’ suggested video lists to comprise mainly of clickbait videos rather than videos from their subscribed channels.

Pewdiepie said that some of his videos have been receiving under 2 million views, which is fewer than the 6.5 million view average he has been getting for the past four years. He then compared statistics of his views from early last year to late last year. The number of views that came from his videos being suggested in the sidebar had dropped from 30 percent to less than 1 percent.

Pewdiepie isn’t the only YouTuber blaming the company for a major decline in views recently. Many of YouTube’s biggest channels, like Jacksepticeye and Markiplier, both with around 15 million subscribers, have also supported these opinions, as well as other smaller YouTubers.

If these artists are right, YouTubers with a lower outreach are hurt the most. With these new changes, someone can put out a single clickbait video and receive more money than those who have been consistently posting quality content. These content creators, who rely on YouTube as their only source of income, are losing money to people who produced one viral video.

Not everyone shares their views, however. KSI, a YouTuber with over 15 million subscribers, posted a video saying that these changes in YouTube are inevitable. He said that YouTube is constantly changing and has been ever since it started, and that YouTubers like Pewdiepie should be adapting instead of complaining.

Perhaps it is the audience that is changing and the site is simply adapting to the viewers’ preferences. If people are starting to click on viral videos more, it is neither YouTube’s fault nor the creator’s fault, he said.

For its part, YouTube, which is owned by Google, has declined to comment on any allegations of making changes to its algorithm. In the meantime, YouTubers can only continue to post content that they are proud of and that they think their viewers will enjoy.

1 view this week