YouTube to recruit thousands of new staff to tackle ‘troubling’ content

The video platform is looking to up its game when it comes to fighting violent and offensive content after enduring more negative press headlines.

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YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki has unveiled further measures to battle unsuitable content after it found itself in hot water once again – this time for allowing child abuse videos to be hosted on the platform.

Commenting in a blog post entitled ‘Expanding our work against abuse of our platform’, Wojcicki admitted that while YouTube is mostly used as a “force for creativity,” there is also a “more troubling” side to the platform.

To combat this, she said YouTube will take on extra staff to combat unsavoury content, bringing the total number of people across Google working to address content that might violate its policies to over 10,000 in 2018. Marketing Week understands the new staff will be working across a number of different areas, from reviewing content to machine learning.

Wojcicki claimed YouTube has been taking action against extremist content over the past 12 months by tightening its policies on what videos can appear on the platform and earn revenue, and by increasing its enforcement teams.

“Human reviewers remain essential to both removing content and training machine learning systems because human judgment is critical to making contextualised decisions on content,” she said in the blog post.

“Since June, our trust and safety teams have manually reviewed nearly 2 million videos for violent extremist content, helping train our machine-learning technology to identify similar videos in the future.”

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Only last week YouTube said it would have “zero tolerance” for predatory comments on videos featuring young children, after a new investigation by The Times led brands such as Mars and Lidl to pull their spend from the platform.

The video platform has had a tumultuous year. At the start of 2017, an investigation by The Times into advertising appearing next to extremist content sparked a mass advertiser boycott. And its parent company Google has come under fire for a lack of transparency in how it shares data with advertisers and for “marking their own homework” when reporting campaign results.