Why Did YouTube Remove Tags From Video Watch Pages?

By Megan O'Neill 

Yesterday you may have noticed something a little different about the video watch pages on YouTube—the tags have been removed.  Although you can (and should) still add tags when uploading a video, they are now private and can’t be seen by other viewers.  This afternoon, YouTube explains why they made this change in a post on the YouTube Creator blog.

Shiva Rajaraman, Director of Product Management at YouTube, writes, “With more videos coming to YouTube every minute, we’re always developing ways to help people more easily find, watch and share the videos that matter most to them.  Our data showed publicly displayed tags were failing to help users find the videos they wanted to watch, so we’ve decided to make them private.”

Yesterday a tweet sent out from the YouTube Creators twitter account reported that the reason behind the removal of tags from the public eye was that “Viewers didn’t use them and some abused them.”  The Reply Girl scandal is just one example of this abuse—users directly copy-pasting meta-data like tags and titles and using revealing thumbnails to lure viewers in and rack up views.  It looks like YouTube is hoping that making tags private will keep users from “gaming the system” in this fashion.

Rajaraman adds that, “As always, you can apply tags to videos in the upload interface, or in the metadata editor, which can be accessed by going to your video manager page and clicking ‘Edit’ next to a video.  When choosing your tags, it is important to select those that reflect your video.  We provide suggested tags in the upload interface and metadata editor, if you need help choosing.”

Image credit: picsfive via shutterstock.com

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.