YouTube Tests New Warning on ‘Potentially Offensive’ Comments

YouTube has started testing a new reminder that pops up and warns users before they post a “potentially offensive comment” and encourages them to revise the comment.

YouTube wrote that this reminder will be shown to randomly selected users. Users that are shown the reminder can post their original comment as is or revise it before posting.

The company added that the intention of this test is to “help encourage respectful interactions.”

The test is one of several restrictions YouTube has applied to the comments section over the last couple of years and if the test is rolled out across the site, it’s likely to disincentivize and reduce critical comments.

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YouTube’s test follows Instagram rolling out a similar comment warning system site-wide this week and Twitter starting to test a similar system that prompts users to “rethink” what they’re about to say in May.

The test also follows several policy changes and decisions that have slowly chipped away at the YouTube comments section – one of the main tools viewers use to interact with and give feedback to creators.

Since the start of last year, YouTube has said that comments left by other users can get creators demonetized, started to automatically hold channel comments for review, and disabled some channel comments under its Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) changes.

In addition to these policy changes, YouTube was also auto-censoring some comments left by users earlier this year including some phrases that criticized the Chinese government and propaganda operators and some comments about “black lives matter violence.” YouTube did eventually lift the auto-censorship and said it was an “error.”

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