YouTube recently announced a few changes in their Terms of Service (TOS) enforcement for misbehaving users. The changes will affect a lot of users in the way they are sanctioned for inappropriate activity.
I was intrigued by this announcement because I was one of those guys who enforced the guidelines over at AOL for users who often repeatedly violated community standards, often breaching into criminal activity. I found the communication that YouTube was good because it was upfront in messaging the reason for the changes, who will be affected and what they are doing to mitigate abuse proactively.
However, I do disagree with the six-month violation rescind policy. This is not effective at managing harassment. Violators will just post inappropriate content three times every six months to avert termination and inadvertently open up for more abuse (and claims of inaction from victims). See below:
STRIKES THAT EXPIRE
The folks at AOL who manage TOS enforcement have experimented with policies such as this and there were just too many situations where abusers maliciously spread their abuse out over time so they slipped through the cracks. The main selling point of having a grace period before termination is subscriber retention and user experience. Of course no one wants their account shut off, but sometimes you gotta do it if you don’t play by the rules. In the spirit of complying with my non-disclosure agreement, I can’t disclose the current policy for enforcement. But, I can tell you that it is more strict now.
Aside from the ineffective 6-month grace period before termination, I find the other enhancements very positive. There is a slim chance that a majority of the abuse is from legitimate, innocent, reasonable users. Some users find it acceptable to promote hate-speech, or release a cool video of a street fight or other egregious content. The improved notifications will allow them to educate users on what is (and isn’t) acceptable content.
Muting Accounts is a very good enforcement technique, in my opinion. While the user can still use a number of features on the site, it prevents other folks from viewing potentially harmful material as well as providing some penalty for violating the guidelines. It’s pretty good, too, because it should prevent duplicate (illegitimate) accounts from being created after a suspension.
I think overall, the changes YouTube made are good, but I have my doubts that the six-month rescind policy will hold out for long. I anticipate that will change within the year as abuse continues. What do you think about YouTube’s TOS Enforcement?