YouTube has introduced a new experiment where a small percentage of viewers will see automatically-generated thumbnails, rather than the ones that some channels create for specific videos.
With YouTube growing at an exponential rate since it was first introduced in 2005, creators and members of the platform have expanded alongside it, which has allowed the video-hosting service to become an international giant.
Some users on the platform have been able to build incredibly lucrative careers by uploading videos and collecting advertiser revenue after establishing a large base of fans and supporters over time, leading YouTube to adjust its policies over time.
However, sometimes creators push back in regards to potential changes by the platform with the concern that adjustments may disrupt the 'flow' of being able to bring in viewers, advertisement revenue, and other aspects pertaining to their careers.
One of the most useful features for channels to bring in new viewers is that of 'thumbnails,' which provide a short insight on that a certain video is about and can be a huge factor in whether or not a user will click on a specific upload.
On June 27th, YouTube surprisingly announced that they are rolling out an 'experiment' where 0.3% of viewers will be seeing an automatically-generated thumbnail, rather than the custom one uploaded by a channel.
We are running a small experiment where 0.3% of viewers will see an auto-generated thumbnail, instead of your custom thumbnail. We are not removing the ability to create your custom thumbnail, but we hope to gain insights on auto-generated thumbnails for the future.
— Team YouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 28, 2018
This method has been met with a collection of harsh criticism by certain users, with many questioning why such a policy would be put in place when certain creators pay other to design thumbnails for each video.
As of writing, it is unknown how long the thumbnail experiment will last for.