9.26.2016

Backlash Over New YouTube Heroes Program

Perhaps Not The Heroes We Deserve?


YouTube is currently experiencing some backlash over the announcement of their new program, YouTube Heroes. Many of the more well known YouTubers including big names like PewDiePie, Pyrocinical, and more are speaking out about the program through videos of their own.

So what is it? YouTube’s Heroes will crowdsource some of its content management to some of its users, called Heroes. These “Heroes” will perform some of the actions typically reserved for YouTube administrators, such as flagging inappropriate videos and removing nasty comments.

Users get points for performing certain actions on YouTube, eventually leveling up and gaining access to more moderator abilities and other rewards like sneak peeks of new features. Users can level up by contributing to YouTube by flagging inappropriate videos, adding captions and subtitles, and sharing their knowledge with other users on forums.

"Users get points for performing certain actions on YouTube, eventually leveling up and gaining access to more moderator abilities and other rewards."

Hero perks are divided into five levels. Starting at level one, Heroes can join the community and access the Heroes dashboard. Level two will let Heroes join exclusive workshops and take part in Hero hangouts. From level three, Heroes gain access to super tools, such as mass flagging of abusive videos and helping to moderate the YouTube Heroes community.

Level 4 will let Heroes go behind the scenes with sneak previews of product launches and the ability to contact the YouTube staff directly. After reaching level 5, users get even closer to YouTube, letting them test products before release, and allowing them to apply for the Heroes Summit. Hero points don’t expire during the YouTube Heroes program, but violating YouTube’s policies can decrease points.

This could be a very powerful system, and carries a lot of potential for abuse. From placing completely wrong (or offensive) subtitles on a video to mass flagging an entire channel, many YouTubers are worried that some of the worst people on the internet could hold positions of power in the community. There do seem to be some tools in place, such as a reputation system to prevent abuse, but we won’t see how effective these tools are for some time.

“This could be a very powerful system, and carries a lot of potential for abuse.”

The introductory video for YouTube Heroes can be found here, and at time of writing has over 2 million views and sits at a 98% dislike rating. The program is currently in beta, and YouTube hopes to refine its program as it goes. Anyone who is interested can apply here.

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