Last September, YouTube began testing a new feature called profile cards, which showed a user’s public information and comment history on the current channel. The feature was touted as a way for creators to more easily identify their biggest fans by offering easy access to their past comments. Now, YouTube is launching the product to the general public, initially on Android.
YouTube hopes the new feature will help users “explore comments, build connections with others, and contribute to a more welcoming YouTube overall,” the company explains.
To use Profile cards, you’ll just tap on the profile picture of anyone who’s commenting to view their card. Here, information like their name, profile photo, subscriptions, subscriber counts, and recent comments will appear in a pop-up card. All this information is publicly available on YouTube, but the Profile card consolidates it in one place.
If you’re already subscribed to the commenter’s channel, the Profile card will indicate this; otherwise, you can click the red “Subscribe” link to start following the commenter on YouTube.
To be clear, the comment history that displays isn’t a user’s full YouTube comment history (though that would be interesting!). Instead, the Profile card only shows the comments on the channel you’re viewing when you click to view the card.
A link to the commenter’s channel is also included, towards the bottom.
While YouTube has promoted the feature as a way to connect with community members and identify a channel’s best commenters, it could also be useful for identifying trolls. Being able to see the commenter’s history on the channel can help creators or moderators make more informed decisions about whether future comments from the same users should be hidden, or if the user is trustworthy enough to earn a spot on the “approved users” list, for example.
When the feature launched into testing this fall, feedback was largely positive — especially since some see it as a way to help raise their own channel’s profile by being an active commenter. More recent feedback, however, has a few users asking for an opt-out option so their comments aren’t shown, citing concerns about out-of-context remarks or privacy issues.
YouTube says the feature is available now on Android and will launch on other devices in the future.
Profile cards are one of a few changes launching on YouTube. Also new are optional topics in the Subscriptions feed on iOS, which make it easier for subscribers to filter their subscriptions by topics like “Today,” “Unwatched,” “Live,” “Posts,” “Continue Watching,” and more.