YouTube Disables Public Video Tags In Their API: Will It Make a Difference?

Earlier today over at the YouTube API Blog, there was a post detailing some changes regarding tags and YouTube’s Data API. In so many words, the blog explained that because YouTube has disabled video tags to the public, they would also be disabling tags in API responses.

The blog post reads “Starting later today, August 28, on the staging server and September 4 on the production server, any time you get a video entry back from any API method, it will have an empty <media:keywords/> element.” Perfect, so that just means that — wait, what does that mean?

Okay, so for those of you not familiar with XML or HTTP, here’s what that means. Previously, when using YouTube’s Data API, a person could search for a video’s keywords and the corresponding search results would look something like this:

Now, since YouTube has banned tags from a video’s description, the same is being done for a video’s backend data. Essentially, YouTube disabling tags from the public prevented everyone from abusing tags but still allowed anyone with YouTube API knowledge to still see tags. YouTube is now cracking down on those using YouTube API to find a video’s tags.

The good folks over at VidStatsX sum it up best in a tweet that reads:

So, how will this affect you? For creators not familiar or interested in using YouTube API, this change will be nominal. It will most likely benefit you short term due to the fact that tag abusers won’t be able to copy your tags for enhanced search results.

However, as VidStatsX writes on Twitter:

In the long run, people will always find a way to get the information they need. Disabling tags to the public and in YouTube’s code won’t stop tag abusers from cheating the system. If the Internet has taught us one thing, it is that people don’t like having information they once received freely taken away from them. This probably won’t start a people’s revolution anytime soon, but it has left a lot of YouTube developers unhappy.


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