YouTube Pushes for Transparency in Comments

Ever wonder who those people are making rude, negative comments on YouTube behind the “security” of a username?

If the video-sharing site has its way, that will soon change.

In a report by Mashable, YouTube is urging its users to use their full names when commenting on, and uploading clips.  The alternative for the screen name associated with YouTube, would include a picture and full name from users Google+ account.  If the option is declined, a reason for doing so must be chosen on the site.

Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion in 2006.

In a blog addressing the forthcoming changes on YouTube, engineer John Fisher writes “This will give you more options for how your videos are seen and discovered on YouTube. However, we realize that using your full name isn’t for everyone. Maybe people know you by your YouTube username. Perhaps you don’t want your name publicly associated with your channel. To continue using your YouTube username, just click “I don’t want to use my full name” when you see the prompt.”

Social media has largely lived behind the ability of those who use it to remain anonymous. While some voluntarily reveal their names, many freely give their opinion, good or bad, behind the wall of a created username. It has provided an open forum to post negative comments with the safety of not receiving any repercussions.

Aside from a potential free speech firestorm, this begs the question whether YouTube’s efforts to force commenters to reveal themselves will open the door for more transparency between brands and consumers on social media.  Undoubtedly, how this decision plays out will be watched and may be the setting of a trend.  Or not.

Brands have used other social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook as a way to connect with consumers, gauge measurement and listen to their wants and needs. While YouTube has not been the first option organizations use to promote their brand, becoming more transparent, if it works, may open the door for YouTube to become a sought-after destination for organizations.

Follow Jamar Hudson: @jamarhudson