Google Agrees: It’s Time for More Humans Fighting YouTube Hate and Child Exploitation Videos


Regular readers of my missives have probably grown tired of my continuing series of posts relating to my concerns regarding particular categories of videos that have increasingly contaminated Google’s YouTube platform.

Very briefly: I’m one of YouTube’s biggest fans. I consider YT to be a wonder of the world, both technologically and in terms of vast swathes of its amazing entertainment and educational content. I would be horrified to see YouTube disappear from the face of the planet.

That said, you know that I’ve been expressing increasing concerns regarding extremist and other hate speech, child exploitation, and dangerous prank/dare videos that increasingly proliferate and persist on YouTube, often heavily monetized with ads.

I have never ascribed evil motives to Google in these regards. YouTube needs to bring in revenue both for its own operations and to pay creators — and the absolute scale of YouTube is almost unimaginably enormous.

At Google’s kind of scale, it’s completely understandable that Google has a strong institutional bias toward automated, algorithmic systems to deal with content of all sorts.

However, I have long argued that the changing shape of the Internet requires more humans to “ride herd” on those algorithms, to fill in the gaps where algorithms tend to slump, and to provide critical sanity checking. This is of course an expensive proposition, but my view has been that Google has the resources to do this, given the will to do so.

I’m pleased to report that Google/YouTube has announced major moves in exactly these sorts of directions that I have long recommended:

https://youtube.googleblog.com/2017/12/expanding-our-work-against-abuse-of-our.html

YouTube will hire *human* video reviewers to a total of over 10K in 2018, will expand  liaisons with outside expert groups and individuals, and will tighten advertising parameters (including more human curation), among other very positive steps.

At YouTube scale, successful execution of these plans will be anything but trivial, but as I’ve said about various issues, Google *can* do this!

My thanks to the YouTube teams, and especially to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, for these very welcome moves that should help to assure a great future both for YouTube and its many users!

–Lauren–

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