To Answer Critics, YouTube Tries a New Metric: Responsibility (bloomberg.com)

YouTube is changing the way it measures success on the world’s biggest video site following a series of scandals. There’s just one problem: The company is still deciding how this new approach works, Bloomberg reports. From the report: The Google division introduced two new internal metrics in the past two years for gauging how well videos are performing, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. One tracks the total time people spend on YouTube, including comments they post and read (not just the clips they watch). The other is a measurement called “quality watch time,” a squishier statistic with a noble goal: To spot content that achieves something more constructive than just keeping users glued to their phones.

The changes are supposed to reward videos that are more palatable to advertisers and the broader public, and help YouTube ward off criticism that its service is addictive and socially corrosive. Creating the right metric for success could help marginalize videos that are inappropriate, or popular among small but active communities with extreme views. It could also help YouTube make up for previous failures in curbing the spread of toxic content. YouTube, like other parts of Alphabet’s Google, uses these corporate metrics as goal posts for most business and technical decisions — how it pays staff and creates critical software like its recommendation system. But the company has yet to settle on how the “quality watch time” metric works, or communicate how the new measure will impact millions of “creators” who upload videos to the site.

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