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YouTube Comments Vandalized by Troll Art

Google's fix has led to some erotic behavior

Photo: Getty Images

YouTube comments have devolved into a forum for phallic art. Google has admitted its new commenting system has led to some unintended consequences, like pornographic pixel portraits.

In September, Google forced all YouTube users to link to Google+ profiles in order to continue commenting on videos. Putting an end to anonymous commenting was meant to clean up filthy YouTube comments by discouraging bad behavior.

But Google also opened the comments section to links, which has opened the door to spam. And YouTube comments, now linked with Google+, now have no maximum on the number of words or characters—which has led to commenters unleashing their creative sides, making pictures with their keyboards within comment streams.

The computer drawing technique is known in graphic design circles as ASCII, which Google has acknowledged is getting out of hand on YouTube.

Here’s what the company had to say about all of it in a blog post this week.

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

In the past, brands have run into trouble when advertising on YouTube, only to run into comment trolls. The new policies gave users more ability to moderate comments.

Social media experts say that the platform is better for brands when they feel safe about enabling and engaging in commenting.

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