Here’s the crux of the article in video form:

New updates are being added at the bottom of this story…….

Original story (published on July 26, 2023) follows:

YouTube, currently the most popular video platform, has been receiving some unpopular changes and decisions in recent weeks.

The changes seem to go against everything that could affect the revenue of the company. For example, they have been testing aggressive ways to ‘block’ the YouTube video player for ad-blocker users.

YouTube

Now, multiple YouTube users are being forced to enable the ‘Watch history’ option to receive video recommendations.

YouTube forcing users to enable ‘Watch history’ to show video recommendations

YouTube allows users to disable their history of watched videos. The option is for those who want to have a little more control over their privacy or do not want to be ‘tracked’.

The Watch history allows the platform to recommend videos based on the user’s preferences. So, those who have disabled the option will not receive relevant recommendations on the main page (just random videos).

youtube-forcing-enable-watch-history-show-video-recommendations-1
Source

However, now there are users for whom the main page is not showing any video recommendation (not even random ones) if they have disabled the ‘Watch history’ option.

Anyone else being forced by Youtube to enable video history?

Basically it hides the site unless I change the setting to enable the history. I don’t want to do this because I don’t want to make it any easier to feed their algorithms than it already is.
Source

I have had my YT history disabled since the option came, i opened the app today and thought this was a bug. What a poor user interface. Pushing this release to users is shameful.
Source

According to reports, instead of video recommendations, the YouTube main page only displays a ‘Your Watch History is off’ message.

So, basically, those affected will have to use the manual search or access their saved playlists to watch videos.

A bug or a new change?

There is still no official response from the YouTube team on the matter. Therefore, it is unknown if the situation is due to a bug, or a new change that aims to be unpopular.

Although there is still no official word, the reasons why YouTube is forcing to enable Watch history can be speculated. As with the attack on ad-blockers, it would be a measure to increase their revenue.

YouTube-inline-image-1

The ‘Watch history’ not only allows the platform to offer videos related to the user’s tastes, but also targeted advertising. This translates into better business results for advertisers.

Hopefully the company sheds more light on the situation soon, and we will update this story with all relevant new developments as they arise.

Update 1 (August 09, 2023)

04:15 pm (IST): Announced through an official support page, it has been confirmed that YouTube will stop showing recommended videos in some places like the homepage, if your watch history is turned off entirely.

Starting today, if you have YouTube watch history off and have no significant prior watch history, features that require watch history to provide video recommendations will be disabled – like your YouTube home feed.

This means that starting today, your home feed may look a lot different: you’ll be able to see the search bar and the left-hand guide menu, with no feed of recommended videos thus allowing you to more easily search, browse subscribed channels and explore Topic tabs instead.
Source

Update 2 (August 17, 2023)

12:40 pm (IST): Fresh reports (1, 2, 3) suggest that more users are now being forced to enable the watch history. However, there’s a workaround to get rid of it.

youtube-watch-history-workaround
(Source)

Update 3 (August 18, 2023)

04:03 pm (IST): Some users are happy with this change as they noticed (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) that the home page is minimalist, clean, and free from random video suggestions.

NOTE: You can also check the YouTube bugs/issues tracker.

PiunikaWeb started as purely an investigative tech journalism website with main focus on ‘breaking’ or ‘exclusive’ news. In no time, our stories got picked up by the likes of Forbes, Foxnews, Gizmodo, TechCrunch, Engadget, The Verge, Macrumors, and many others. Want to know more about us? Head here.

Jean Leon
1613 Posts

A tech enthusiast since ever. I like to always be up to date on the latest news in the industry and write about it. Twitter: @jean_ERdC

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