YouTube Says Autoplays Don’t Count

After weeks of speculation about its autoplay view-counting policy and at least one high-profile news story, YouTube has revealed that the company purposefully does not count video autoplays.

“Autoplaybacks are not counted toward the visible ‘views’ numbers displayed on the YouTube site because autoplaybacks are not viewer initiated,” a YouTube spokesperson said via email, adding that viewcounts should be a reflection of the interests and intents of video viewers. “The majority of videos are not affected by this.”

YouTube did not answer follow-up questions aimed at finding out why the majority of videos are not affected. Presumably most embedded videos use YouTube’s default embed code, which requires user interaction to play.

It is possible to tweak the embed code so a video plays automatically each time the page loads. Though this method has historically resulted in higher view counts for video producers, it also has the potential to annoy users and undermine advertiser confidence in the video-sharing site.

YouTube said previously that the company has measures in place to discount false ad impressions.

YouTube revealed its autoplay policy after NewTeeVee inquired about the view counts for a forthcoming story on the breakout hit Imaginary Bitches, which has garnered millions of views over the course of nine episodes. Some of those views, however, seem to come from autoplay embeds in the comment sections of high-traffic MySpace profiles.