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Google: YouTube fights off HUGE ASCII PHALLUS MENACE

Pr0ntastic commenters are having their way with Google

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The integration of YouTube comments with Google Plus has led to a new wave of obscene comment spam and more junk, Google has admitted.

The search engine giant has pledged to stick by the new comment system, introduced earlier this month, while fighting, er, harder to eradicate new nuisances such as ASCII penis art and link spamming.

Google previously prevented commentaries from leaving messages which included clickable links, a policy that made life that much harder for miscreants trying to peddle phishing scams or attempting to direct web traffic to malicious or scam sites. The old system still allowed various forms of trollish and insulting behaviour, antics that could sometimes drown out informed or witty comments.

The Chocolate Factory's response to this was to introduce integration with Google Plus. The idea was that forcing people out from behind a cloak of anonymity would encourage more civil discourse. A no doubt happy side-effect of the move, from Google's perspective, was that it promised to drive extra traffic to Google Plus, which in turn would allow it to sell more higher premium "social" ads.

What's happened in the weeks since the change is that the flame wars in YouTube comments have continued while spam has arguably gotten worse. New nuisances have now entered the fray, such as ASCII art pornography. And, of course, Google+ allows users to post links so comments on YouTube that link to live scam sites have become a bigger issue.

In a post to the official YouTube Creators blog, Google has acknowledged problems with the "new comments experience" while promising to step up its efforts to combat various forms of abuse.

Since we launched the new comments experience on YouTube two weeks ago, we’ve received a lot of feedback from creators on the increase in comment spam. While the new system dealt with many spam issues that had plagued YouTube comments in the past, it also introduced new opportunities for abuse and shortly after the launch, we saw some users taking advantage of them.

We’ve worked hard to combat the increase in spammy comments and have made a number of updates, including:

  • Better recognition of bad links and impersonation attempts
  • Improved ASCII art detection
  • Changing how long comments are displayed

We know the spam issues made it hard to use the new system at first, and we’re excited to see more of you getting involved as we’ve fixed issues. New features like threaded conversations and formatted comments are coming to life, thanks to you and your fans.

So what's next? We're moving forward with more improvements to help you manage comments on your videos better. Bulk moderation has been a long standing creator request and we'll be releasing tools for that soon. At the same time, we’re also working on improving comment ranking and moderation of old-style comments.

Users such as Swedish video games commentator PewDiePie (16 million subscribers and counting), disabled the new Google+-powered YouTube comments system entirely, in response to the level of abuse. They aren't alone in their criticism, with some petitioning for a return to the old system.

"Clearly Google has no intention [of listening] to those petitioning against Google+ being the basis of YouTube comments, ASCII art or no ASCII art," writes veteran security expert Graham Cluley in a blog post. "Let’s hope that Google manages to police malicious and spammy links better, or it may become riskier than ever watching YouTube videos." ®

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