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YouTube, Children’s Content and Algorithm Changes

YouTube Children's Educational and Algorithm artworkOur eleventh minisode of “The Creative Influencer” podcast is available today for download on iTunes, Spotify, and premier platforms everywhere.  In minisodes, we answer questions that our listeners have emailed Jon.  In this special follow-up minisode, Jon discusses recent changes to YouTube’s recommendation algorithm after Google settled with the FTC over children’s privacy issues.


A transcript of the episode follows:

This is a special follow-up minisode. In our last minisode, Minisode 10, I answered Wendy’s question about whether YouTube crossed the creepy line by tracking children’s activity on YouTube.

Since that Minisode, a settlement between the FTC and Google has been confirmed but we still don’t know the details. Based upon other FTC settlements there will likely be future oversight. So given that, I believe that YouTube is trying to get ahead of the issue and be proactive.

How? Well, the first thing they did is they tweaked YouTube’s algorithm as it relates to kid content. It’s been reported that these changes have hit some channels particularly hard. 

A spokesperson for YouTube, Ivy Choi, said the change is meant to “improve the ability for users to find quality family content.” 

Google’s CEO recently stressed the educational value of YouTube. 

So what’s this all mean?

Well, what we’re seeing is what Google did several years ago to web searches. It used to be that websites would try to game the system by loading pages and posts with tons of keywords. Google changed its algorithm, and overnight a website that came up on page one suddenly couldn’t be found. The idea was to provide quality content when you did a Google search.

YouTube is trying to do the same thing that Google did – that is to punish YouTubers who try to game the algorithm by producing cookie cutter content. The days of content for content’s sake may, thankfully, be coming to an end! That is, if YouTube is really true to its word that it is going to promote quality family content and educational content.

So, the question still remains, what is quality family content or educational content?

That will take some time to sort out, but I predict—here’s my bold prediction—is that toy unboxing videos may be the next to be hit by algorithm changes. Stay tuned. We can only hope: YouTube is still feels like the wild, wild west, but it’ll sort itself out.


The Creative Influencer is a podcast about YouTube and digital media influencers.

  • YouTube , The Creative Influencer , Influencers | Social Media
  • Aug 07, 2019

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