Google has switched YouTube’s commenting to Google+, forcing users to activate the social network and use their real names and many irked users have turned to Change.org with the campaign to revert to the original commenting system has exceeded 177,000 signatures.
YouTube comments are hardly civilized, with many commenters responding to videos with quips that are often offensive, obscene or at least mean. The video-sharing site has since switched to Google+ as its commenting system, which forces users to reply using their (supposed) real names.
The move does have its merits, as Google says the new commenting system will push up relevant comments — those that get substantial +1 upvotes, as well as those that are submitted by users from within one’s circles. However, the downside is that not everyone wants to use Google+, both as a commenting system and a social network. Google has been criticized to have made this move in order to jack up active user counts for Google+, which is lagging behind bigger competitors like Facebook in the social networking scene.
Complaints don’t do much on their own, however, which is why concerned users have launched a Change.org signature campaign to request Google to revert back to the old YouTube commenting system. The proponents of the campaign even claim Google is using the new commenting system to censor users who are speaking out against YouTube for the move.
Responses to the campaign have been mixed, however. Most are calling out Google for their move to force Google+ upon unwilling users, and for supposedly censoring out unwanted comments through account suspensions. However, those that support the new commenting system believe that “anonymity makes people meaner,” the use of real names will mean more responsible commenting among users.
In what might worsen users’ opinion of Google+ as a commenting system, ZDNet columnist Violet Blue observed that spam and obscenity are still rampant in YouTube comments, and even its spam filtering algorithm could not filter-out 85 successive N-words.
The campaign has 177,726 supporters as of writing, and will require 22,274 more to reach its 200,000 target.