In a statement issued to the press, a YouTube spokesperson said: “We’re always experimenting with ways to help people more easily find, watch, share and interact with the videos that matter most to them. We are testing a few different options on how to display comments on the watch page. This is one of many small experiments we run all the time on YouTube, and we’ll consider rolling features out more broadly based on feedback on these experiments.”
The test has been rolled out to some Android users in India.
Instead of the default layout where comments are housed below the recommended video suggestions below the video being watched, comments are shifted to their own dedicated tab that users have to manually click on.
YouTube has been criticised for encouraging an extreme polarisation of its content, with creators becoming increasingly controversial in order to be successful with the site’s algorithm. That culture of courting controversy has, in many cases, also spilled over to the comments section, with critics calling it a ‘toxic’ community.
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16th July 2019