It's no surprise that people were shocked when they read the statement made by YouTube in which they revealed a plan to test a feature that would improve the platform's ability to create auto-generated thumbnails. It's also worth mentioning that the way in which it's being tested is seemingly questionable at the least. So, why is this a big deal?
YouTube will be running an experiment where “0.3 percent of viewers” will see these new auto-generated thumbnails rather than the creator’s custom-made images. The viewers will be selected at random and creators will not be notified that their video has been chosen. The 0.3 percent may not seem like a large number at first, but when you consider that YouTube has over 1.5 billion monthly users, it’s a massive number of users that will be the subject of YouTube’s “anonymous” testing.
The fact that this could happen to a video that someone spent valuable time on or in a lot of cases, money, is a pretty scary one! Also, the fact that they are doing it without the notification or consent of the user is even more frustrating. Talking about potentially harming a brand and/or relationship!
At least for the moment, this remains an experiment for YouTube, with an official statement from them stating, “We are not removing the ability to create your custom thumbnail, but we hope to gain insights on auto-generated thumbnails for the future.”
It is yet another move by YouTube that has creators upset. The last round of criticism came after a YouTube star, with 15 million viewers, posted an extremely graphic and controversial video to his channel. Even though this video was flagged, it still landed in the trending area of YouTube. This led to YouTube coming under heavy fire for the way it handles content on its platform, including video approval.