Importing YouTube User Data Fails

Apr 17, 2012 at 1:20 AM

Hello all.

I fired up NodeXL today and attempted to run through importing data from YouTube.  Using the default name supplied in the entry box I changed the radio button to reflect importing subscription data and followers data.  After a short amount of time the following message came back:  "The network couldn't be obtained.  Details:  The YouTube Web service refused to provide the information because it is private."

I'm aware that Google has been making several interface design changes which has caused the Lococitato tool YouTube Analyzer to fail.  This current error message appears to be a result of yet more changes on the YouTube website.

My question is this:  Is this a permanent issue?



Apr 18, 2012 at 5:30 PM


This used to work fine, so something has changed at YouTube that is causing it to fail now.  I'll have to investigate what's happened.  (I'm the NodeXL programmer.)  We'll either have to adjust to YouTube's changes or remove the Import from YouTube User's Network feature from NodeXL.

Thanks for letting us know about this.

-- Tony

Apr 23, 2012 at 10:50 PM


Here is the explanation from the YouTube documentation:

This request does not require authentication, but you will only be able to retrieve the contacts of users who display the Friends module on their channel pages. (If a user's contacts are displayed on the user's channel, then the user is already making the contact list public, and YouTube therefore allows API clients to access that same information.)

If you try to retrieve contacts for a specific user who does not display the Friends module on his channel, the API will return a 403 (Forbidden) HTTP response.

So it's up to each YouTube user.  If she has chosen to make her contact list public, then NodeXL can get it.  Otherwise, the information is private and there is nothing NodeXL can do about it.  So yes, this is permanent behavior.

I do need to find a YouTube user who has made her contact list public and use her in place of the current "andyland74," who is now private.

-- Tony


Apr 23, 2012 at 11:43 PM

I forgot to mention: The privacy restriction applies only to the "add a vertex for each friend of the user" option.  It does not apply to the "add a vertex for each person subscribed to by the user" option.

-- Tony

Apr 24, 2012 at 1:36 AM


Many, many thanks for looking into this.

When I was first trying to sort through this I created a YouTube account and tried to figure out what was necessary to make the contact list public.  After about two hours of searching I couldn't get it to work.

It would be great if this worked but at the same time, I can understand the reasoning behind the changes.

I'll continue monitoring to see if something crops up.  I've been using NodeXL as a teaching tool at work and it has been fantastic.  Thanks so much to you and the crew for your good work.

Apr 24, 2012 at 3:50 AM

After I read your latest post I did a cursory search of "YouTube Friends module," and apparently it is no longer available.  The YouTube documentation I quoted earlier is therefore out of date, and so I don't know how to get the "friend of the user" option to work.  I'll let you know if I'm able to make more sense of this.

-- Tony