YouTube Shares its Plans for Removing Harmful Content



YouTube posted information on its official blog about its plan for removing harmful content. It is part of YouTube’s effort to live up to their responsibility while preserving the power of an open platform.

The plan consists of four principles:

  • Remove content that violates YouTube’s policy as quickly as possible
  • Raise up authoritative voices when people are looking for breaking news and information
  • Reward trusted, eligible creators and artists
  • Reduce the spread of content that brushes right up against YouTube’s policy line.

Over the next several months, YouTube will provide more detail on the work they are doing to support these principals. The first focus is on “Remove”. They have been removing harmful content since YouTube started, but accelerated it in recent years.

Because of this ongoing work, over the last 18 months, we’ve reduced views on videos that are later removed for violating our policies by 80%, and we’re continuously working to reduce this number further.

After reviewing a policy, YouTube may discover that fundamental changes aren’t needed. But, if the review uncovers areas that are confusing to the community, YouTube clarifies their existing guidelines.

For example, YouTube provided more detail about when a “challenge” is too dangerous for YouTube. YouTube’s hate speech update was launched in early June. YouTube says the profound impact of their hate speech policy is already evident. In April, they announced they are updating their harassment policy, including creator-on-creator harassment.

Another thing YouTube is doing, in addition to human reviewers, is the use of machine learning technology to help detect potentially violative content. In addition, YouTube is removing content that breaks its rules before that content is widely viewed, or even viewed at all. More than 80% of auto-flagged videos were removed before they received a single view in the second quarter of 2018.

For example, YouTube notes that the nearly 30,000 videos they removed for hate speech over the last month generated just 3% of the views that knitting videos did over the same time period. Personally, I love that something as creative and informative as knitting videos are getting so many more views than the awful videos that include hate speech.


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