YouTube to ramp up fight against violent content
The chief executive of YouTube has vowed to hire more staff and use cutting-edge machine learning technology to continue its fight against violent and extremist content.
In an official blog post, Susan Wojcicki hailed the platform for being "a force for creativity, learning and access to information" but warned that "bad actors are exploiting our openness to mislead, manipulate, harass or even harm".
In the last year, YouTube has tightened its policies on what content can appear on the platform, increased its enforcement teams and invested in new machine learning technology to scale the efforts of its human moderators.
"Now, we are applying the lessons we’ve learned from our work fighting violent extremism content over the last year in order to tackle other problematic content," Wojcicki wrote.
Since YouTube started using machine learning to flag violent and extremist content in June, the technology has reviewed and flagged content that would have taken 180,000 people working 40 hours a week to assess.
Wojcicki also revealed that 98 per cent of the videos the platform removes for violent extremism are now flagged by its machine-learning algorithm.
"Because we have seen these positive results, we have begun training machine-learning technology across other challenging content areas, including child safety and hate speech," she said.
However, Wojcicki stressed that human reviewers remain essential to both removing content and training machine learning systems because "human judgment is critical to making contextualized decisions on content".
Google plans to bring the total number of people working to address content that may violate its policies to over 10,000 in 2018.
Wojcicki has also promised to take actions to protect advertisers and creators from inappropriate content, which she believes requires a new approach to advertising on YouTube, carefully considering which channels and videos are eligible for advertising.
"We are planning to apply stricter criteria, conduct more manual curation, while also significantly ramping up our team of ad reviewers to ensure ads are only running where they should.
"This will also help vetted creators see more stability around their revenue. It’s important we get this right for both advertisers and creators, and over the next few weeks, we’ll be speaking with both to hone this approach."