YouTube's enraged its community yet again with a new controversial experiment

YouTube running controversial experiment where 0.3 percent of YouTube viewers will see automatically generated video thumbnails and not the thumbnails created by YouTube creators.

The announcement came in a quick post in the YouTube Help Forum saying: “Over the next few weeks, a small group of viewers (0.3% of those on YouTube site-wide) will see the default, auto-generated thumbnail for all videos (across all channels) instead of the custom thumbnail.”


But many creators didn’t see the announcement — since it was posted in a not very heavily trafficked forum. The creators affected by the experiment had to reach out to YouTube to get an explanation.


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Understandably creators are very uneasy about this experiment, especially since YouTube didn’t give everyone a proper warning, nor did it ask for their permission.

And while YouTube says it’s a “small experiment”, YouTube has 1.3 billion active users. 0.3 percent of that number is 3.9 million users. That’s still a large number to many and could mean the loss of revenue because thumbnails ultimately help videos get clicks.

YouTube’s Response

Trying to keep the outrage to a minimum, YouTube made it clear it’s not taking away YouTuber’s ability to make thumbnails. Instead, it’s getting insight into auto-generated thumbnails for future improvements. “We are not removing the ability to create your custom thumbnail, but we hope to gain insights on auto-generated thumbnails for the future,” YouTube tweeted when replying to Rayo Alarcón Gareca.

Other than that short reassuring tweet, YouTube hasn’t made any other comments.

What does this mean for the future?

It’s worth noting that not everyone is angry about YouTube’s experiment. Some believe those who are angry are overreacting and say everyone’s getting too worked up over a small and temporary test.

But, while this test is temporary, the reasons for the massive outcry goes beyond the actual experiment itself. It potentially foreshadows YouTube’s actions in the future and it’s leaving creators worried. Will YouTube be running more experiments like this that will directly affect views and revenue of YouTubers without asking for consent or even notifying them that the experiment is happening? No one knows for sure, and that’s what’s making them furious.


  1. Maybe the ones who use thumbnails as click bait are the ones getting angry!!! (meaning thumbnail does not relate to the video posted)

  2. Here’s the way I see it. YouTube ALREADY is doing this sort of thing. What do I mean? “Limited or no advertising”. They didn’t ask us to verify the kind of content we post to see if we posted stuff that advertisers didn’t like. Nope. They decided to let their algorithm decide. It demonetizes new videos when they’re MOST LIKELY TO MAKE MONEY, but then when you notice (because they don’t tell you), they MIGHT look at it. Every time they’ve done it to me, they’ve demonetized my content, but ive already lost money. Do I get an apology? Compensation? A flag that says “This guys videos are cool”? Nope. Nothing.

    So, instead of learning what the algorithm thinks is bad and tweaking it until it doesn’t make mistakes, they experiment with my channel and hope I’ll alert them of mistakes.

    Sorry, but they have money, why not use it instead of stealing under the guise of experiments and “a better algorithm”?!

    Here’s an idea. Compensate creators for mistakes. If I get a demonetized view AND it turns out to be a mistake, pay me for it.

    Do that with thumbnails too. Do an experiment and you get lower click through? Pay the creators. YouTube has the resources, but they won’t do it. THAT’s what makes me mad. They experiment at the expense of the creators.

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