YouTube video makers are using clickbait still images to catch the eye

Because of the highly competitive nature of YouTube, I am seeing upsetting images being used as the icon image when searching for a video on animal rescue. You might know that you can select a still image to be presented on the video icon in the listing of videos presented to you when you search for one. And what is happening is that people are using horrendous images of dogs and other animals in terrible condition to provoke people to click on the icon to start the video playing. I think this is unacceptable. It’s quite gruesome and upsetting. I do not believe that people should be seeing images that are that upsetting. It doesn’t help. There should be some self-censoring going on if YouTube is unwilling to do anything about it.

Clickbait image icons on YouTube
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Clickbait image icons on YouTube

Perhaps I’m being overly sensitive but it is quite clear to me that this is an exploitative practice. It is using distressing images of animals to promote commercialism. Ultimately the makers of videos on YouTube are on that platform to make money. They want success and success is measured in how much revenue they can acquire through Google AdSense advertising. And, as mentioned, it is a desperately competitive marketplace. There are billions of videos on YouTube. Hundreds of thousands are uploaded daily. A video is quickly drowned out and in effect it disappears. It becomes a needle in a haystack. This drives people to employ clickbait.

Just to be clear, clickbait is a provocative image or article title which stimulates a viewer to click on it to find out more. Often what follows is not as dramatic as the image or the words of the title that they clicked on. I know that it is easy to fall into the habit of creating clickbait but it’s not a good idea. It’s unethical essentially and there is a need for more control over what is uploaded to the Internet in very many areas including scammers uploading fake websites just to mention one example.

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